Editorial 26 April 2024

Editorial 26 April 2024

Title: Stability in Maldives: On the election results and India ties 

There are several important messages from the win by Maldives President Mohammad Muizzu’s party, the PNC, in this week’s parliamentary elections. The PNC’s “super-majority” — over 70 of 93 Members of Parliament or People’s Majlis, including allies and independents — also eases Mr. Muizzu’s path to passing laws and even making constitutional amendments. The opposition in the Majlis, led by the former ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), that was perceived as “pro-India” won just 12 seats, while parties floated by the former Presidents, Abdullah Yameen and Mohammad Nasheed drew a blank. Mr. Muizzu will be in the spotlight for how he wields the near-absolute power, in a country which has seen authoritarian rule for decades. The results also indicate widespread approval by Maldivians of decisions he has made since he was elected in November 2023 including his international visits to China, Turkey and the UAE, and receiving U.S. senior officials, while keeping a relative distance from India. During his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December, he insisted on a total withdrawal of Indian troops maintaining aircraft for humanitarian operations in the archipelago, which he has now enforced. He has also scrapped a hydrography agreement with India, while strengthening ties with China, to “rebalance” and end dependence on any foreign power. Meanwhile, Maldivian leaders and commentators have expressed concern over majoritarian trends in India. Derogatory comments about Mr. Modi by Maldivian Ministers have added to the unease in India. Indian tourist figures have also dropped.

With the Maldivian results in, and the Indian election results in June, New Delhi and Male have an occasion to try and mend their frayed ties. Relations have been traditionally good, and should not oscillate with changes in each government. Unfortunately, this has been the trajectory for the past decade. Mr. Muizzu’s statement that rather than “pro-India” or “pro-China”, he intends to build a “pro-Maldives” policy must be tested against his actions while giving him time to prove that none of those actions is to the detriment of India’s security or regional peace. Given Maldives’s economic troubles and development needs, its challenges with climate change, and its geographical allure for the U.S. and China, it is only a matter of time that the relative comfort of stronger ties with India and its policy of sustainable financing and support, becomes apparent to Male. To be truly successful, a mutual policy of “Neighbourhood first” can only be voluntary and based on mutual trust and interests.

Meaning of the Word:

WordMeaningSynonymsAntonyms
Perceivedrefers to the interpretation or understanding that individuals derive from various stimuli such as language, symbols, actions, or experiences.1)Interpreted
2)Understood
3)Conceived
4)Viewed
5)Discerned  
1)Misinterpreted
2)Misunderstood
3)Ignored 4)Overlooked
5)Disregarded  
Authoritariantypically refers to the interpretation or understanding associated with authoritarianism, a political system characterized by strong central power and limited political freedoms.1)Dictatorial
2)Totalitarian
3)Autocratic
4)Oppressive
5)Despotic  
1)Democratic
2)Liberal
3)Free
4)Egalitarian
5)Libertarian  
Insistedrefers to the interpretation or understanding that is forcefully asserted or emphasized by someone.1)Asserted
2)Emphasized
3)Stressed
4)Affirmed
5)Maintained  
1)Relented
2)Yielded
3)Suggested
4)Proposed
5)Conceded  
Trajectorytypically refers to the direction or path of development or change over time.1)Path
2)Course
3)Route
4)Track
5)Direction  
1)Stagnation
2)Standstill
3)Regression
4)Deviation
5)Departure  
Detrimentrefers to the negative consequence, harm, or disadvantage caused by something.1)Harm
2)Damage
3)Disadvantage
4)Loss
5)Injury  
1)Benefit
2)Advantage
3)Gain
4)Improvement
5)Asset  

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