ASSESSMENTS

With an Ex-President at the Helm, the Maldives’ ‘India Out’ Campaign Gains Steam

MIN READJan 10, 2022 | 20:20 GMT

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left) shakes hands with Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in Male during a visit to the island nation on June 8, 2019.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left) shakes hands with Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih during a visit to the island nation on June 8, 2019.

(STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s recent support for the “India Out” campaign could elevate the opposition movement’s profile, threatening Indian investment and influence in the strategic island nation. The India Out campaign is a loosely organized series of protests and propaganda objecting to India’s involvement in the Maldives. The campaign emerged after current Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih took office in 2018 and recalibrated the country’s foreign policy to strengthen ties with India -- marking a notable shift from his predecessor’s focus on bolstering ties with China. Over the past four years, the Solih administration has increased both economic and defense collaboration with India, sparking protests from the opposition and nationalist groups that see this increased reliance on India as a threat to national security and Maldivian sovereignty. These anti-India protests have gained significant momentum in recent weeks following the acquittal of former president Yameen, who was released...

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