Maldives opposition leader warns of rising Chinese influence

July 10th, 2008 - 11:57 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 10 (IANS) Mohammad Nasheed, the presidential candidate of the Maldives’ opposition, has warned that the island nation’s government was wooing China, thereby creating a security for threat for India in the Indian Ocean. Nasheed, who belongs to the Maldives Democratic Party, is in India leading a delegation of party members.

Speaking at an interaction organised by the Observer Research Foundation here Thursday, Nasheed alleged that Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who has been president since 1978, was disturbing the balance of power in the Indian Ocean by wooing China.

An ORF release quoted Nasheed as saying that if his party came to power, it would not do anything that would be inimical to the interests of India and Indian people.

He said his party would throw out the Chinese bases, if any, from their country. “I don’t mind taking development assistance, but what they (the Gayoom regime) are doing is cheap politics. I can’t even think of it,” added Nasheed.

He also sought the Indian government’s help to ensure a free and fair election in the country.

The Maldives presidential elections are scheduled for Oct 10. The MDP leader said the current regime could either delay the election or rig the results.

Nasheed hoped the Indian government would take note of the changed scenario in his country and support the democratic aspirations of its people.

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