Minister: Maldives will not be used to endanger regional safety

Economic Development Minister Fayyaz Ismail gestures as he speaks during a press conference on February 19, 2020. (File Photo/Sun/Ahmed Saeed)

Economic Minister of Maldives Fayyaz Ismail has said that the government will not allow the Maldives to be used to endanger the security of a neighboring nation or disrupt the peace of the Indian Ocean after saying that the government did not have any problems with China.

Speaking on a program of Raajje TV last night, Minister Fayyaz noted that India and Sri Lanka were the oldest and closest friendly nations of the Maldives.

The Minister said that the three countries cannot be relocated elsewhere, which is why the Maldives would not do anything to disrupt the peace and security of the region. 

"We have not had issues with China, at any time. However, we will not allow the Maldives to be used, in any way that disrupts the peace and security of a neighboring nation or the Indian Ocean." said the Minister firmly.

The Maldives will still conduct economic and business activities with all nations said the Minister who added that questions regarding Chinese loans arose from observations made elsewhere in the world.

He gave an example by indicating to Africa, where he said that China gained ownership of certain locations due to loans provided to these nations. Minister Fayyaz said that the loans the Maldives obtain from India are not the same. 

Rhetoric by the opposition parties saying that India wishes to occupy the Maldives was to create rifts between the public and the government.

"If India wished to capture the Maldives, it would have been done centuries ago. We have to accept the reality, that nothing that threatens the security of India can be done in the Maldives," said the Minister.

The two nations had a beneficial connection and relationship and that the Maldives should prioritize regional security. The Minister also said that the Maldives was not oblivious to rivalries between world powers and that the Maldives would still prioritize the safety of Sri Lanka and India as a neighboring state in instances where the nations believe a threat is there.

"We will obtain loans from China, and Chinese investment is also welcome. We are also maintaining a close relationship with China." said the Minister.