Maldivian parliament accepts emergency motion on harbour development project with India
The People’s Majlis has accepted an emergency motion submitted regarding the agreement Maldives signed with India for the development of an MNDF Coast Guard Harbor at Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF) as well as loans procured through the neighboring country.
51 lawmakers voted to review the motion submitted by MP Ahmed Shiyam, during today's Parliament sitting.
The emergency motion seeks to publicize the agreement, signed on Sunday between Maldives Minister of Defense and National Security Mariya Ahmed Didi and India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, as well as details of loans procured through the Indian government.
MP Shiyam asserted that the agreement to develop an MNDF Coast Guard Harbor at UTF, to be used to dock and manage Coast Guard vessels, is linked to the country’s independence and national security. He claims that the agreement was created without acquiring the consent of the People’s Majlis and that there are currently Indian military personnel stationed across the Maldives in the name of several projects.
The Naifaru constituency MP further stressed that the government is hesitant to disclose an exact number of Indian military personnel stationed across the Maldives, currently, and noted that the government is spending for them through state funds. The agreement in question comes in succession of India-sourced development projects being launched in the island nation during the External Affairs Minister’s two-day official trip to the Maldives.
The harbor and dockyard being developed under the agreement comes under the "Defense Action Plan on Defense Cooperation" signed between both countries back in 2016 during now incarcerated former President Abdulla Yameen's first official trip to the neighboring country.
During a presser to clarify uncertainties regarding the role India plays in the development project, Vice-Chief of Defense Force Brigadier General Abdul Raheem Abdul Latheef stated that no foreign military personnel will be stationed at the harbor and confirmed that only Maldivian CG and officers of Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) would be active following the completion of the project.
Under the said agreement lasting for a period of 15 years, experts from India will train Maldivians to work at the harbor alongside providing maintenance aid for equipment.