New Delhi: The Chinese embassy in India has refuted the Maldivian opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed’s claim that the Asian giant has been “land grabbing”, claiming that the former president is indulging in political one-upmanship.
In a recent interview, Nasheed had said that one of his priorities on returning to power would be to spearhead an international convention against ‘land grab’ by foreign countries in the guise of investment. The former Maldives president, who is on self-exile after being allowed to leave jail for treatment abroad, has been highly critical of the Abdulla Yameen government’s apparent laying down the red carpet for Chinese investment in the Indian ocean nation.
He has repeatedly claimed that China has made unusually high investments to build resorts in 17 islands in Maldives. Nasheed believes that the rate of investment in those projects would make them economically unviable and, therefore, these assets have a strategic role.
The Maldivian opposition has been suggesting that China’s strategic inroads under the presidency of Yameen requires a more pro-active stance from India. Raising the presence of China, New Delhi’s pressure is solicited by the Maldivian opposition to put pressure on Yameen to end the state of emergency and facilitate inclusive presidential elections.
In a statement issued on Monday, the spokesperson of Chinese embassy in India Ji Rong issued a statement on the “false remarks in the Indian media” by President Nasheed. “These allegations are apparently groundless with no regard to facts,” said the Chinese diplomat.
Asserting that Chinese projects have been widely welcomed, Ji Rong said, “As a matter of fact, when Nasheed was the president, China and Maldives have already launched relevant cooperation projects”.
“The “land grabbing” allegation by Nasheed is apparently meant to serve certain political purposes of him,” he added.
Also read: Nasheed: ‘India Has the Imagination and Tools to Get its Way With the Maldives Government’
Following Nasheed calling for Indian military presence in Maldives, Beijing had asserted that the emergency in Maldives was an “internal affair”. This was reiterated by the Chinese embassy spokesperson on Monday.
“China believes the current situation in Maldives is the internal affairs of Maldives and should be properly resolved through dialogue and negotiation by various parties in the country. We believe the Maldivian government and people have the wisdom and ability to properly handle the problems they face and restore order in the country according to law,” said Ji Rong.
India had also put up a ‘keep off’ sign, when it had unusually responded to media reports of talks between China and Maldives. “We note that China has said that Maldives government has the ability to protect the security of Chinese personnel and institutions in Maldives. We hope that all countries can play a constructive role in Maldives, instead of doing the opposite,” Indian foreign office spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on February 9.