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Maldives Bans ‘India Out’ Campaign


India Out campaign UPSC: Relevance

  • GS 2: India and its neighborhood- relations.


India Out campaign in Maldives: Context

  • Recently, Maldivian President has issued a decree banning the ‘India Out’ campaign, terming it a “threat to national security.”


India Out campaign banned: Key points

  • The Presidential order states that the campaign against India “exploited” the freedoms and “intends to disrupt” the long-standing bilateral relations between the Maldives and India as well as efforts to maintain peace and security in the region.
  • The decision comes after the Maldives’s National Security Council decided that the campaign “to incite hatred against India” is a “threat” to national security.


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India Out campaign meaning

  • “India Out” is a slogan coined two years ago by protesters who claimed that the MDP government in Maldives, led by President Ibrahim Solih, had “sold out” the Maldives to India.
  • The protesters claim that due to the pro-India policies of the present Government, India has sent a large military contingent to Maldives.
  • Attention has focused particularly on the co-operation between the two sides to develop a harbour on the Uthuru Thilafalhu (UTF) atoll for the Maldivian coast Guard.
  • The present Maldivian government has said there are no Indian military personnel in the Maldives other than a maintenance and flight crew operating three Dornier aircraft used for surveillance, and for rescue and air ambulance operations.


India Out campaign significance

  • The anti-India campaign was first led by a social media activist, however, the matter turned out to be political after the former President Abdulla Yameen became its face since his release from prison last December.
  • During the Presidential tenure of Yameen—2013 to 2018, Yameen gave Maldives’ foreign policy a pronounced pro-China tilt.
  • It was a time when Beijing was projecting its power in the Indian Ocean region and marketing its Belt and Road Initiative.
  • Yameen is now seen using the India Out campaign as his re-election vehicle.
    • The presidential elections are due by September 2023.


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India-Maldives ties after 2018

  • After coming to power in 2018, the Solih government sent out clear signals that it intended to repair ties with India, which had taken a hit during the Yameen presidency.
  • The government also declared an India First foreign policy.
  • Since coming to power, the Solih government has signed a security cooperation pact with a credit line of $50 million from India for capacity building in the maritime domain.
  • India is also helping to develop a coast guard base at the Uthuru Thilafalhu atoll.
  • The pact includes cooperation in fighting terrorism and extremism.
  • India is developing new projects under the High Impact Community Development Project (HICDP) in various atolls of the Maldivian archipelago.
  • These projects include setting up hospitals, sports facilities and museums. India already has 20 other HICDPs in Maldives.
  • These projects are finalised on the basis of requests and proposals from local communities.
  • India is also executing the biggest infrastructure project in Maldives — the Greater Male Connectivity Project.


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