After Maldives, India supplies onions to neighbour Sri Lanka and ally UAE
Posted on April 7th, 2024

Courtesy The Hindustan Times

Despite political shifts in Maldives towards a pro-China stance under Muizzu’s regime, India continues to provide essential commodities to its neighbours.

The credibility of the Narendra Modi government’s neighbourhood first policy is evident as India is now planning to supply thousands of metric tons of onion to Sri Lanka after supplying vast quantities of essential commodities to Maldives under the pro-China Mohammed Muizzu regime.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (centre), External affairs minister S Jaishankar (right), and commerce minister Piyush Goyal.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (centre), External affairs minister S Jaishankar (right), and commerce minister Piyush Goyal.

It is understood that besides this, India on April 3 allowed a supply of an additional 10,000 metric tons of onions over and above its quota to close ally United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the Gulf country is always a priority with Bharat. This is over and above 14,400 metric tons of onions agreed for the UAE on March 1.

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Despite the fact that India could have twisted Muizzu on the eve of crucial Majlis elections on April 21, the last paragraph of the export notification to Maldives that export of all essential items will be ‘exempted from any existing restriction/ prohibition on exports.’ This means that India will continue to supply essential commodities to Maldives even if there is any export ban and restriction imposed by India due to unforeseen shortfall in production in the near or distant future.

Fact is that Muizzu’s mission to Turkey, China and UAE to garner funds has turned out to be a cropper as none of the countries have pledged any grants to the Indian Ocean littoral state. Thanks to the short-sightedness of Muizzu, Saudi Arabia is just not interested in the Maldives after the Maldivian Salafi leader went to Turkey on his first foreign visit after he was sworn in as Maldivian President on November 17, 2023. Muizzu has still not visited India as he came to power riding on an anti-India campaign.

The Indian decision to export essential commodities was not based on politics but a reach to the Maldivian public and to also give a signal that Bharat is with Maldives whosoever be the ruler of the tiny island nation.

The Maldivian economy is right now as well as no infrastructure projects have been revived by Muizzu after he came to power and the country owes some USD one billion as debt repayment on account of sovereign bonds in 2026. Male owes USD 50 million as interest to SBI in May and another USD 50 million in September on account of treasury bills purchased by the Indian multinational bank.

Thanks to toxic anti-India policies pursued by Maldives ruler Muizzu, the high-spending Indian tourist arrivals in Male have plunged with the island nation swamped by low-spending Chinese tourists. Even though there is no threat to Muizzu’s government whatever the results of the Majlis elections, the Modi government is keen to ensure that the Maldivian public does to suffer on account of policies of its erratic ruler.

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