The Maldives has been left red-faced after credible reports that India campaigned against it during a UN Security Council vote.
India had given at least three assurances that it would vote for the Maldives for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, India’s ambassador to the Maldives told The Hindu.
Although the Maldives was thrashed by Indonesia, netting 46 votes to its rival’s 144, the envoy still claimed afterwards his nation had enjoyed its neighbour’s support.
But India voted against the Maldives as well as ensuring that the tiny nation would be roundly thumped, the Times of India reported Tuesday.
Ties between India and the Maldives have been under pressure for months, mostly because of China’s growing influence in the region.
Diplomatic sources told the newspaper that India’s lobbying eroded support for the Maldives.
“It’s well known that many of these countries pick their cues from India which signalled to them to support Indonesia,” reported the TOI.
“Malé, at one stage, was claiming to have support from 60 countries in writing and 30 verbally.
“To many though, the claim that India voted for the Maldives, ignoring Indonesia, in these circumstances stretched the limits of credulity. Indonesia, a leading Asean nation of 270 million, had sought support from India for its candidature during PM Narendra Modi‘s visit to Jakarta just ahead of the voting.”
Modi has not visited the Maldives since taking office in 2014.
The Maldives Independent contacted the foreign ministry and Foreign Minister Mohamed Asim to ask about the TOI report. There were no answers to the following questions at the time of going to press:
- What is your response to credible reports that India voted against the Maldives in the UN Security Council election and even campaigned against the Maldives?
- How do you know India voted for the Maldives in the UN Security Council election when it is a secret ballot?
- India’s foreign minister said she would visit the Maldives once progress had been made on certain issues. What were these issues and what progress did they want to see?
- How many times has India’s foreign minister been invited to the Maldives?
The Maldives Independent was told by someone in the foreign ministry’s media department: “I cannot comment. There is no one here (in the foreign ministry media department) authorized to comment. There is no designated spokesperson to answer or give comment to the media. When we have information to share we share it through our website, statements and such.”
The Maldives Independent also asked why there was no designated spokesman at the foreign ministry and why nobody in the media department could comment or answer press questions.