Trade Deal With China A “Mistake”, Maldives Set To Pull Out: Lawmaker


President Ibrahim Mohamed warned Maldives was in difficulty after racking up debt with Chinese lenders.

Male: 

The Maldives’ new government will pull out of a free trade agreement (FTA) with China because it was a mistake for the tiny nation to strike such a pact with the world’s second biggest economy, the head of the largest party in the ruling alliance said.

It is the latest sign of a backlash against China in the Maldives, best-known for its luxury resorts on palm-fringed coral islands.

“The trade imbalance between China and the Maldives is so huge that nobody would think of an FTA between such parties,” said Mohamed Nasheed, the chief of the Maldivian Democratic Party, which leads the ruling federal alliance. “China is not buying anything from us. It is a one-way treaty.”

On Saturday, as he took office, the new President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih declared the state coffers have been “looted” and warned that the country was in financial difficulty after racking up debt with Chinese lenders.

Former President Abdullah Yameen, who lost the election in September, signed the FTA during a visit to Beijing in December, and the same month his parliament ratified the treaty despite opposition protests that he had rushed through the 1,000-page document in less than an hour without any debate.

Nasheed, a former president and now an advisor to Solih, said parliament would not pass the law changes required for the zero tariffs agreement to come into force.

“It was ratified by parliament, but fortunately it calls for different sets of legislation. We are not going to have this further legislation. We can’t go with that,” Nasheed told Reuters in an interview in the capital Male.

China’s embassy in Male did not respond to a request for a comment on the trade pact.

But China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Culture and Tourism Minister Luo Shugang, President Xi Jinping’s special envoy to the inauguration, told Solih that China paid great attention to developing relations with the Maldives.

The Maldives is among a number of small countries where China has invested billions of dollars building highways and housing as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. Through that initiative, Beijing hopes to improve trade and investment flows with much of Asia and parts of the rest of the world.

China was willing to work with the Maldives to consolidate their traditional friendship, plan their practical cooperation and promote Belt and Road to inject “new impetus” into their future relationship, the foreign ministry cited Luo as saying during Sunday’s meeting with Maldivian president.

The statement cited Solih as expressing appreciation for China’s long-term support of the Maldives and that he was willing to further deepen cooperation under the Belt and Road framework.

Striking Deals

Critics in the Maldives say a China-led infrastructure boom has left the tiny country of a little more than 400,000 people debt-ridden, and a free trade pact would only make the situation worse given the lopsided nature of the relationship.

Between January to August this year, the Maldives’ imports from China were $342 million, while its exports to China were just $265,270, according to Maldives customs data. The island nation bought meat, agricultural produce, flowers, plants, electronics and toys from China among many other items.

It imported $194 million worth of goods from India, its traditional partner, during the same period, while exporting $1.8 million of products including scrap metal such as copper, aluminium and steel.

The Yameen administration said at the time that the FTA with China would help diversify the $3.9 billion economy and boost fisheries exports from the Maldives, crucial since the European Union declined in 2014 to renew a tax concession on them.

The two countries would open up services such as finance, healthcare and tourism, China said at the time. The Maldives has no free trade pacts with any other country.

If the Maldives turns away, it would be the latest setback for China, which is facing opposition for its projects in countries stretching from Malaysia to Nepal, and even from its all-weather ally Pakistan.

A proposed free trade agreement has been held up in Sri Lanka over Colombo’s demand that it have the option to leave after 10 years.

A member of Solih’s transition team also said the administration was thinking of cancelling the pact.

“It makes no business sense,” the official said, requesting anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. “This is not something we are going to pursue, we expect the cabinet to meet and take a formal decision on this.”

The new administration plans an audit of the deals signed by the Yameen administration, but it said it had no plans to suspend or cancel any of the projects, such as airport expansion and housing contracts, given to Chinese firms.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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PM Modi Assures “All Possible Help” To New Maldives Government Headed By Ibrahim Mohamed Soli


PM Modi and President Solih discussed ways in which India can continue development partnership

Male: 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured all possible help to new Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in fulfilling his government’s pledges to the people and suggested an early meeting of officials to work out the details according to the needs of the strategically vital Indian Ocean island nation.

According to a joint press statement after talks between Prime Minister Modi and President Solih here on Saturday, soon after the 54-year-old Maldivian Democratic Party leader was sworn-in as the seventh president, the two leaders expressed confidence in the “renewal” of the close bonds of cooperation and friendship between the two countries.

India-Maldives ties came under strain under former president Abdulla Yameen who was perceived to be close to China. Some of his decisions, including the restrictions on work visas for Indians and signing of a new Free Trade Agreement with Beijing also did not go down well with New Delhi.

In his inaugural address, President Solih made it clear that he will endeavour to “fortify” the existing ties the Maldives has had with India and other regional countries.

“The Maldives will hereupon bolster its shared role to retain enduring peace and harmony of the Indian Ocean,” he said.

In the joint press statement, both leaders agreed on the importance of maintaining peace and security in the Indian Ocean and being mindful of each other’s concerns and aspirations for the stability of the region.

The statement noted that President Solih briefed Prime Minister Modi on the “dire economic situation” facing the country as he assumed charge.

In his speech, Mr Solih said that he was taking on the presidency at a time when the country is in a precarious financial situation.

“The treasury has endured a colossal blow owing to reckless mega development projects undertaken purely for political gain. Large-scale embezzlement and corruption has dwindled the coffers of the state by billions of rufiyaa,” he said.

The press statement said that Prime Minister Modi and President Solih discussed ways in which India can continue development partnership, particularly to help the new government in meeting its pledges to the people of the Maldives.

“In particular, President Solih highlighted the pressing need for increased housing and infrastructure development as well as for establishing water and sewerage systems in the outlying islands,” the statement said.

Prime Minister Modi assured President Solih of India’s firm commitment in assisting the Maldives to achieve sustainable social and economic development. He also conveyed India’s readiness to extend help in every possible way and suggested that both sides should meet at the earliest to work out details as per requirements of the Maldives, the statement said.

Prime Minister Modi also welcomed the expanding opportunities for Indian companies to invest in the Maldives in different sectors for the mutual benefit of both countries.

Recognising that nationals of both countries travel extensively between the two countries, the leaders also agreed on the need for facilitating easier visa procedures, the statement said.

The two leaders also expressed their commitment and support for increased cooperation in combating terrorism both within the region and elsewhere, it said.

Prime Minister Modi, who was the highest-ranking foreign leader at the swearing-in ceremony, said he had “productive discussions” with President Solih.

 “Congratulations to [email protected] on taking oath as the President of the Maldives. Wishing him the very best for his tenure ahead. Looking forward to working with him to strengthen bilateral relations between our nations,” PM Modi tweeted before returning to New Delhi.





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PM Modi assures Maldives for help – पीएम मोदी ने मालदीव को दिया आश्वासन, कहा


खास बातें

  1. मालदीव ने किया चीन के हस्तक्षेप का जिक्र
  2. नए राष्ट्रपति के शपथ ग्रहण मे गए थे पीएम मोदी
  3. राष्ट्रपति ने कहा – हमारी हालत सही नहीं

नई दिल्ली: पीएम मोदी (PM Modi) ने मालदीव (Maldives) के साथ रिश्तों को और मजबूती देने के लिए एक बार फिर पहल की है. उन्होंने आर्थिक तंगी से जूझ रहे मालदीव को आश्वासन दिया है कि वह उन्हें इस स्थिति से निकालने में उनकी हर संभव मदद करेंगे. पीएम मोदी (PM Modi) ने मालदीव (Maldives) के नए राष्ट्रपति इब्राहिम मोहम्मद सोलिह से इस बाबत बात भी की. खास बात यह है कि शनिवार को मालदीव (Maldives) को नए राष्ट्रपति ने पद संभालने के बाद ही राज्य के खजाने में लूट की घोषणा की थी. उन्होंने कहा था कि जिस तरह से चीन ऋणताओं के साथ बुनियादी ढांचे में उछाल के बाद देश को वित्तीय कठिनाई हो रही है, वह हमारी अर्थव्यस्था के लिए सही नहीं है. 

यह भी पढ़ें: पीएम मोदी आज मालदीव जाएंगे, राष्ट्रपति सोलिह के शपथ ग्रहण समारोह में करेंगे शिरकत


भारतीय विदेश मंत्रालय ने एक बयान जारी कर कहा कि पीएम मोदी ने मालदीव को आर्थिक तंगी से निकालने के लिए राष्ट्रपति को हर संभव मदद की बात कही है. ध्यान हो कि बीते कुछ समय से चीन ने मालदीव में अपनी अपना निवेश बढ़ाया है.चाहे बात रोड बनाने की हो या फिर हाई-वे या होटल, चीन हर क्षेत्र में निवेश के लिए मालदीव में अपना पैसा लगा रहा है. हाल ही में दुनिया में अपने रिसार्ट के लिए जाने जाने वाले पालम फ्रेंड द्वीप पर बड़ी मात्रा में निवेश कर रहा है.

टिप्पणियां


यह भी पढ़ें: मालदीव में ब्रिटिश कालीन मूर्तियों को कुल्हाड़ी से तोड़ा गया, सरकार ने बताई ये वजह

चीन ने यहां घर, होटल और रोड पर बड़े पैमाने पर निवेश किया है. लेकिन इस वजह से चार लाख से ज्यादा लोगों ने  को मालदीव छोड़ना पड़ा. हालांकि उन्होंने मांग की कि इस बात की जांच होनी चाहिए कि आखिर पिछली सरकार के समय में किस आधार पर चीनी कंपनियों को ठेके दिए गए. देश के नए राष्ट्रपति ने अपने शपथ ग्रहण समारोह के दौरान कहा कि देश की वित्तीय स्थिति बेहद खराब है. इसकी एक सबसे बड़ी वजह अपने राजनीतिक फायदे के लिए दिए गए शुरू किए गए प्रोजेक्ट थे. ऐसे प्रोजेक्ट की वजह से हमें काफी नुकसान हुआ.



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Narendra Modi is on a day-long visit to Maldives to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih


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India was the only country invited at Head of State in Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solihs swearing in ceremony


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PM Modi Clears India’s Stand As Maldives Worries About Loot In Chinese Boom


PM Modi and Ibrahim Mohamed Solih agreed the two countries would be mindful of each other’s concerns

Male: 

As the new president of the Maldives took office on Saturday, he declared that the state coffers to have been looted and warned that the country was in financial difficulty after racking up debt with Chinese lenders in an infrastructure boom. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the highest ranking foreign visitor at the ceremony held in a soccer stadium in the capital Male, told President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih that India stood ready to help the country through its economic difficulties, the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement following their meeting.

The Maldives, famous for its luxury resorts on palm-fringed islands, is the latest in a number of small countries where China has invested millions of dollars building highways and housing as part of its Belt and Road Initiative.

But these projects have left the country of just over 400,000 people in debt and prompted calls for investigations into how contracts were awarded to Chinese companies during the previous administration.

“As I take over the presidency, the state’s financial situation is precarious. The damage done due to projects conducted only for political reasons, and at a loss, are huge,” said Mr Solih in a speech soon after he was sworn in as president.

Mr Solih, a veteran lawmaker, won the presidential election in September as a joint opposition candidate against president Abdullah Yameen, a strongman who steered the country closer to China and faced international pressure over imprisoning political rivals.

“The state coffers have lost several billions of rufiyaa (local currency) due to embezzlement and corruption conducted at different levels of the government,” Mr Solih said.

He said it wasn’t clear how much the state had lost. His transition team said this week it would conduct a forensic audit of deals sealed by the Yameen administration, many of them with Chinese state firms.

The big worry for Mr Solih’s team is the debt the country has run up with Chinese lenders for projects such as a mile-long sea bridge connecting the airport to the capital, the airport expansion itself and massive housing projects on reclaimed islands.

Mr Solih’s transition team said it had been told the country owed $1.5 billion to Chinese lenders, but fear it could be much higher. Even a debt of $1.5 billion would be more than a quarter of the country’s annual gross domestic product.

India, which has long been the Maldives’ main political and economic partner, had grown concerned that China’s expansive diplomacy was aimed at establishing an outpost on the islands.

China has already gained a strong foothold in Sri Lanka, just off the southern coast of India, where it has a built a port and now controls it in a debt-for-equity swap. With Mr Solih’s win, India hopes it will be able to win back a country it considered as part of its area of influence.

PM Modi and Mr Solih agreed the two countries would be mindful of each other’s concerns and the need for stability in the Indian Ocean, the Indian foreign ministry said in the statement.

China has said it hoped there would be continuity in policies during Mr Solih’s presidency and it would create good conditions for Chinese firms.





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PM Narendra Modi In Maldives To Attend Oath Ceremony As Country Comes Out Of China’s Shadow


PM Narendra Modi (right) met President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in Maldives.

New Delhi: 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today attended the inauguration ceremony of new Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in the Indian Ocean archipelago, where no Indian prime minister has come in the last seven years. Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh was the last Indian PM to visit the island nation in November 2011.

PM Modi was the senior-most foreign leader to attend the ceremony that went through immense political turmoil under former President Abdulla Yameen. He met Mr Solih after the ceremony.

Outgoing Maldives President Abdulla Yameen, 59, had been expected to romp home in the September 23 elections, with opposition leaders jailed or exiled, and warnings that he would try to fix the vote, but in a surprise turn of events, 54-year-old united opposition candidate Mr Solih was declared the winner, sparking celebrations across the tropical holiday destination.

The US, its allies and India have been concerned by growing Chinese influence in the strategically positioned Indian Ocean archipelago, especially under Mr Yameen’s authoritarian rule.

“Recent elections in the Maldives represent the collective aspirations of the people for democracy, rule of law and a prosperous future. We in India strongly desire to see a stable, democratic, prosperous and peaceful Republic of Maldives,” PM Modi tweeted hours before getting on his flight.

The Maldivian President has highlighted the need to maintain close ties with immediate neighbours over other nations, and his team is reviewing Chinese investments, projects and debt worth millions of dollars.

In October, former Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, 80, had said India played a positive role in restoring democracy in the Maldives by “exerting pressure” on the former regime led by defeated pro-China strongman Abdulla Yameen.

Mr Nasheed returned to his country following Solih’s election. During the swearing-in ceremony, he sat beside PM Modi and the two were seen chatting animatedly. Former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunge was also sitting along with them.

Under Mr Nasheed, relations between India and the atoll nation had improved greatly.

A political turmoil in the island nation was triggered by imposition of emergency in February and jailing of several opposition leaders, including Mr Gayoom, a half-brother of Mr Yameen.

PM Modi landing in the Maldives is a sign that years of cold ties with the Maldives because of Mr Yameen’s closeness to China is behind now. An ongoing constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka is also said to be linked to India and China’s tussle over expansion of their influence in the Indian Ocean region.

(With inputs from agencies)





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PM Modi to visit Maldives today, will attend the oath ceremony of President Solih


नई दिल्ली:

टिप्पणियां

पीएम नरेन्द्र मोदी मालदीव के नए राष्ट्रपति मोहम्मद सोलिह के शनिवार को होने वाले शपथ ग्रहण समारोह में भाग लेंगे. प्रधानमंत्री के रूप में मोदी की मालदीव की यह पहली यात्रा होगी.    

मोदी ने कई ट्वीट कर कहा, ‘‘मैं श्री सोलिह की नई मालदीव सरकार को उनकी विकास प्राथमिकताओं विशेषकर आधारभूत क्षेत्र, स्वास्थ्य देखभाल, सम्पर्क एवं मानव संसाधन विकास को साकार करने के लिए मिलकर काम करने की भारत सरकार की मंशा से अवगत कराऊंगा.”    

 

उन्होंने कहा कि मालदीव में हुए हालिया चुनाव लोकतंत्र, कानून का शासन एवं समृद्ध भविष्य के लिए लोगों की सामूहिक आकांक्षाओं का प्रतिनिधित्व करते हैं. प्रधानमंत्री ने कहा, ‘‘हम भारत (के लोगों की) की यह प्रबल मंशा है कि हम एक स्थिर, लोकतांत्रिक, समृद्ध और शांतिपूर्ण मालदीव गणतंत्र देखना चाहते हैं.”    

 

उन्होंने हाल के चुनाव में सोलिह को उनकी जीत के लिए बधाई दी और उनका कार्यकाल सर्वोत्तम रहने की कामना भी की. सोलिह के शपथ ग्रहण के लिए आए आमंत्रण को मोदी ने हाल में स्वीकार किया था.

(इनपुट भाषा से)





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PM Modi To Attend Swearing-In Of New Maldives President Today


This will be PM Modi’s first visit to the Maldives as prime minister.

New Delhi: 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the inauguration ceremony of Maldives President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Saturday.

This will be PM Modi’s first visit to the Maldives as prime minister.

“I will convey to the new Maldivian Government of Mr Solih the desire of the Indian Government to work closely for realisation of their developmental priorities, especially in areas of infrastructure, health care, connectivity & human resource development,” PM Modi said in a series of tweets.

He said the recent elections in the Maldives represent the collective aspirations of the people for democracy, rule of law and a prosperous future. 

“We in India strongly desire to see a stable, democratic, prosperous and peaceful Republic of Maldives,” the prime minister said.

He also congratulated Solih on his victory in the recent elections and wished him “the very best for his tenure”.

PM Modi had recently accepted the invitation extended by Mr Solih to attend his swearing-in ceremony.





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Breaking News: RLSP Upendra Kushwaha Bihar PM Narendra Modi Maldives Kamal Sandesh Yatra UP Yogi Adityanath Assembly Elections BJP 17 November 2018


NEWS FLASH: राष्ट्रीय लोक समता पार्टी की पटना में आज महत्वपूर्ण बैठक

पटना में शनिवार को केंद्रीय मंत्री उपेंद्र कुशवाहा की पार्टी रालोसपा (RLSP) की बैठक होगी. बैठक में कई बड़ी घोषणाएं होने की अटकलें लगाई जा रही हैं. उपेंद्र कुशवाहा ने कहा है कि बिहार में सत्तारूढ़ एनडीए के घटक दलों के बीच सीट बंटवारे की व्यवस्था पर बने गतिरोध और सीएम नीतीश कुमार द्वारा उनका अपमान किए जाने पर बैठक में चर्चा की जाएगी. कुशवाहा ने बीजेपी अध्यक्ष अमित शाह से मिलने के लिए वक्त मांगा था, लेकिन बीजेपी की ओर से कोई जवाब नहीं आया. कुशवाहा शनिवार की सुबह पटना में अपनी पार्टी की प्रदेश कार्यकारिणी की बैठक में शामिल होने के लिए जाएंगे और बीजेपी सूत्रों ने कहा कि उससे पहले शाह से उनकी मुलाकात की कोई संभावना नहीं है.

पीएम नरेन्द्र मोदी आज मालदीव के नए राष्ट्रपति मोहम्मद सोलिह के शपथ ग्रहण समारोह में भाग लेंगे. प्रधानमंत्री के रूप में मोदी की मालदीव की यह पहली यात्रा होगी. मोदी ने कहा है कि वे सोलिह की नई मालदीव सरकार को उनकी विकास प्राथमिकताओं विशेषकर आधारभूत क्षेत्र, स्वास्थ्य देखभाल, सम्पर्क एवं मानव संसाधन विकास को साकार करने के लिए मिलकर काम करने की भारत सरकार की मंशा से अवगत कराएंगे.

यूपी में आज बीजेपी की ‘कमल संदेश बाइक रैली’ निकलेंगी. इन रैलियों में हर बूथ से कम से कम पांच बाइकों पर सवार होकर बीजेपी कार्यकर्ता लोकसभा केन्द्र पर पहुंचेंगे. पार्टी के प्रदेश अध्यक्ष महेन्द्र नाथ पाण्डेय, सीएम योगी आदित्यनाथ, प्रदेश महामंत्री (संगठन) सुनील बंसल, उप मुख्यमंत्री केशव प्रसाद मौर्य व दिनेश शर्मा भी मोटर साइकिलों पर सवार होकर बाइक रैली का नेतृत्व करेंगे. बीजेपी के सभी सांसद, मंत्री और विधायक अपने-अपने क्षेत्रों में बाइक रैली का हिस्सा बनेंगे.



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