Upset India snubs Maldives, refuses to host foreign minister

FP

Sending a strong signal to Maldives that India is not willing to engage with its current leadership after the GMR controversy, the government has turned down an official request from the Maldivian foreign minister to visit India to set up a visit by the Maldivian president.

Foreign Minister Abdul Samad Abdullah tried his best to reach out to New Delhi on behalf of President Mohamed Waheed but failed. So much so that he came to Delhi on a private visit this month after his official request was rejected and sought meetings in a personal capacity, sources said.

But he had no significant meeting as South Block gave him the cold shoulder.

It was Waheed, it is learnt, who was behind this desperate bid to reflect some normalcy in relations. India, on the other hand, was also concerned over the real motive behind these gestures. With elections expected in the next three-six months, South Block was wary about Waheed or his foreign minister wrongly projecting a meeting for domestic political gains in the name of rapprochement with India.

Waheed has lost all credibility with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as he had specifically assured Singh during his visit to India last May that Malé will not rescind on the GMR contract despite political pressure.

He had said that he was the vice-president when the GMR contract was signed and knew the details well to be certain that it was in Malé's interest to stay the course. Sources said that at no point later did he alert New Delhi about matters spinning out of control.

The call to withdraw all high-level contact with Waheed and his government also comes in the backdrop of the fact that India had decided to recognise him almost immediately after he took over despite complaints from his predecessor Mohammed Nasheed. India came to regret this because Waheed was able to ward off any challenge once he projected Indian support.

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