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Leaked documents show India refused to withdraw military personnel and helicopters from the Maldives even after their Visa’s expired.

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Allegations that Indian influence in the Maldives has been one of the most debated topics in the Maldives. Accusation that India has influenced the last Presidential Election and the current administration is a common topic for political debates. However, a series of documents has been leaked by a local news showing communication between the Maldives Foreign Ministry and the Indian High Commission during the previous administration. The documents show the Government of Maldives requesting the Indian High Commission to withdraw their Helicopter stationed in the Maldives. The documents cement the allegations by the public that India has been increasingly overstepping on the sovereignty of the Maldives.

Below is a timeline of the events, first published in Dhivehi language on “Dhiyares News”.

In a letter dated 22nd April 2018, the Government of Maldives informed the Indian High commission on its decision to return the Helicopter being operated from Addu city by the end of June 2018.  While the letter maintain diplomatic composure, based on the events that took place, it is evident that there was tension between the two parties.

A second letter was sent on 06th May 2018. In the second letter, the Government of Maldives informed the Indian High Commission that the agreement for the helicopter operated out of Laamu atoll had expired on 01st may 2018, and requested its withdrawal by the end of June 2018.

And on 10th June, an additional letter was sent to Indian High Commission. This letter acted as a reminder on the order to withdraw the Indian helicopters and their military personnel by the end of June 2018. It also requested the Indian High Commission to provide a schedule of withdrawal.

The Indian high Commission in Maldives replied with their own letter on 25th June 2018. In their letter, the Indian high Commission stated that Indian government would require “more time” to examine the order to withdraw by the Government of Maldives.

It also noted that the Visa for the Indian military personnel in the Maldives would expire on 30th June 2018, and requested their renewal.

The Government of Maldives replied to this with a  letter dated 27th June 2018, reiterating on the order to withdrawal and to provide a schedule of withdrawal.

Sovereignty at stake?

Based on what happened next, it is clear that the Indian High Commission did not withdraw their helicopters nor their military personnel. It is now a verified fact that the Indian military personnel illegally stationed themselves, against the wishes of then government without even a legal visa. However, with the change of administration, their visa’s and the helicopter agreements were promptly renewed.

The current administration and its President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih which has been marked by its close ties to India, acting as its “yes-man” since his election.

It is clear that India does not seem to view the Maldives as a sovereign nation, and is willing to go against the laws and constitutions of the Maldives and international conventions, to impose their people and influence in the Maldives.

This leak comes following weeks of online protest by locals against the growing Indian influence in the Maldives. Many have accused India of meddling with domestic elections and other issues, to increase their influence in the Maldives.  India’s seemingly unilateral decision to establish a consulate in the southernmost city of Addu has further fueled the allegations. The Hanimaadhoo, military planes, radar systems, helicopters, Police academy and military base near the capital has only exacerbated the situation.

This begs us the question, is our independence and sovereignty at stake?. Does the Maldives need to appeal to the International community that India just won’t remove their military personnel from the Maldives? Are we becoming the next Sikkim ?

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Top10 students need to become teachers: Dr. Aishath Ali

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Education Minister Dr. Aishath Ali has stated that students who were placed in the Top 10 need to become teachers and educators.

She made the statement speaking in the Top Achiever’s Award 2019 ceremony, held Sunday night.

In her address, the Minister said that Maldives had the capacity to press ahead in academic endeavors, and one of the ways to do this was to invest in teachers. Therefore, she said, it was imperative that the best minds present head towards teaching and educating.

The Minister said that in the past 30 years, several thousand Maldivians had been placed in the global top ten. Success, she added, was not solely dependent on academic achievement but also on how much one contributed to the society and country.

Dr. Aishath further commended the parents for their unwavering belief in their children and the innumerable sacrifices.

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Maldives to host an annual invitational football tournament

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Youth Minister Ahmed Mahloof says that the President has instructed him to host an annual invitational football tournament.

Speaking to the press, Minister Mahloof said the success of the Oooredoo SAFF Championship highlighted the passion the country has toward football. This, he said, was the core factor for the success of the tournament. Based on this, the Minister said that the President had given a recommendation that the Maldives must host an annual invitational tournament.

Mahloof did not reveal additional details. However, he said that Bassam Adeel Jaleel, President of the Football Association of the Maldives, we’re hammering out the details.

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President says government stands ready to support all students to achieve their ambitions in their field of choice

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President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stated that his government has and will continue to stand ready to fully support all students to achieve their career ambitions in their field of choice. The President made this statement tonight at the official awarding ceremony for A-Level Top Achievers of 2019 held at Thaajuddeen School. President Solih said that the students, now graduates, are at an important crossroads where they have to contemplate and decide on the road to take for their future. He urged students to make full use of the higher education and training opportunities offered to them by the government, in the Maldives or abroad, and fulfil their dreams in their field of choice.

President Solih congratulated all the top achievers who received awards, naming them the true guests of honour at the ceremony tonight. He stated that in addition to the students, their educators, including teachers, lead teachers and principals, and parents also deserve praise and appreciation for enabling the students to reach their dreams. The President extended his gratitude to all educators and parents for their diligence in helping the younger generations achieve their potential.

Speaking further, President Solih advised students to align their goals with the fast pace of today’s world, utilising modern technology and science for innovation and out-of-the-box thinking to create openings and develop themselves in professions that hold their interest. He urged students to aim to use the tools and opportunities available to them in today’s modern world in innovative and creative ways rather than chasing after a specific job immediately following graduation. The President described diversity and innovation as crucial for swift economic and national development, calling on parents and educators to foster creativity and innovative thinking in whichever field holds the childs’ interests.

President Solih also underlined the central role of teachers and educators in the nation, stating that there are 9119 teachers in the Maldives today; 6498 permanent Maldivian teachers, 1730 expatriate teachers and 891 temporary teachers. He expressed concern that the number of temporary teachers is on the rise, and that a lack of interest in the teaching field could lead to students not receiving the ideal education and nurture they need to achieve their individual dreams. He revealed that the government aims to conduct research into the state of the education sector and teaching vocation to determine the reason for the scarcity of permanent Maldivian educators. He further urged more Maldivians to join the vocation, stating that the younger generations need Maldivian teachers who can train them in the holy principles of Islam and foster future generations of innovative, empathetic and patriotic individuals.

Concluding his statement, President Solih entreated parents and teachers to support the government to shape the younger generations into creative thinkers who can surmount the challenges of the 21st Century, praying to Almighty Allah to bless the efforts.

First Lady Fazna Ahmed and Vice President Faisal Naseem accompanied the President in conferring certificates and awards to the top achievers at tonight’s ceremony.

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