After veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy asked Indian government to invade Maldives in order to “protect Indians” there, Maldives Ambassador to India Ahmad Mohammad on Thursday said Swamy was “imagining things.”
Mohammad said the Indian community in Maldives was highly valued by the Maldivian society.
“Swami’s statement is nothing but a figment of his imagination. Maldives has always recognised the contribution and importance of the expat Indian community to the island nation, and always ensured the safety of all individuals and businesses,” he told media.
The Ambassador said Maldives had been hosting Indians since the 1850s.
“There has never been a single instance where the safety of Indians has been a matter of debate. Maldives has always provided a conducive business environment for all. None of the expatriate community in the Maldives has ever been subject to reprisals or threats of any sort. The safety and security of all expatriates are of paramount importance to the Government of Maldives,” he stated.
During a recent meeting with Swamy in Sri Lanka, former Maldives President Mohammad Nasheed had apprehended that the September 23 presidential elections in his country may be rigged by incumbent President Abdullah Yameen’s party.
“India should invade Maldives if rigging of election takes place,” Swamy tweeted after the meeting.
Later, the government distanced itself from Swamy’s statement.
“The opinion expressed by Subramanian Swamy in his tweet is personal. It does not reflect the views of the government of India,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told the media.
But Swamy went further and said the invasion was necessary if Indians were to be protected in the island nation.
On Tuesday, Maldivian Foreign office summoned Indian envoy Akhilesh Mishra over Swamy’s call to invade the Indian Ocean archipelago nation.
Maldives’ first democratically elected President from 2008 to 2012 Mohammad Nasheed, was arrested on February 22, 2015 on terror charges.
India and US expressed concern over Nasheed’s arrest and manhandling.
Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, who was scheduled to visit Maldives in the second week of March, 2015 as a part four-nation visit to Indian Ocean neighbours, later omitted Maldives from his tour