The Maldives, this time has refused to participate in a friendly naval exercise called ‘Milan’ 2018 starting from March 6-13, at Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is a week-long festival of discussions, band and cultural displays, sports events and cocktail parties.
The invitation to a gathering of Indian Ocean navies has been apparently turned down by the island without any reason, said Indian Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on Tuesday: “Maldives has not given any reason for the decision.”
This exercise takes place every two years, enhancing the network and social bond of the country with other navies of the Indian Ocean, having the current theme of ‘Friendship across the seas’ as per speculations.
“The interactions during Milan encompass sharing of views and ideas on maritime good order and enhancing regional cooperation for combating unlawful activities at sea,” the Indian Navy Capt D K Sharma.
Souring of the relationship
The recent decision of Maldives has deepened the damage between the two countries leading the emergency in the Maldives to get extended by 30 days. While India is convincing the nation to restore democracy, their decision has been termed as “disturbing” by New Delhi.
The Maldives, on the other hand, has shown disappointment with India’s statement calling it ‘unconstitutional’ and “a clear distortion of facts”. Also, Maldives Foreign Ministry had asked friends and partners to avoid taking any action that would make it difficult for the country to deal with its current situation.
Meanwhile, top navy sources confirm Indian Navy’s close Naval connections with the Maldives pointing out the fact that a number of Maldivian navy cadets have already started training this month with the Indian Navy. The first training squadron trains Indian and Foreign cadets on six ships – Indian Naval Ships Tir, Sujata, and Shardul; Indian Coast Guard Ship Varuna, and two Sail Training Ships — Sudarshini and Tarangini.
Maldives’s reputation as a holiday destination was severely damaged after President Abdulla Yameen contradicted the verdict of the Supreme Court. It happened when Yameen invalidated the verdict by five judges against nine opposition leaders, including the banished ex-president Mohamed Nasheed. The action was also taken by many as a chance for Nausheed to return.
Yameen opposed the court verdict and declared an emergency in the Maldives on February 5. He ordered the arrest of two of the five judges and rests three have surrendered their authority to hear cases that made the nation to fall into crises.
Former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was also part of the arrest since he had sided with the opposition.