Diplomacy Politics

FTA with China will not affect relations with India, Sri Lanka: Maldives Govt

Govt officials

Maldives government has said that its FTA with China will not come in way of its strategic alliance with India or Sri Lanka.

Addressing a press conference in Colombo on Monday, country’s minister for fisheries Mohamed Shainee said the FTA is based on pure commercial considerations and will not affect the neighbourly relations with India or Sri Lanka.

His comments came as the agreement had come under criticism with opposition alleging that it was rushed through the Parliament without time for deliberations.

The minister said that the FTA was under discussion since late 2014 and will benefit Maldives for its fisheries exports and investment in tourism sector.

Speaking at the press conference, country’s Attorney General Mohamed Anil sought to put to rest any rumours of postponing the Presidential elections saying it will be held next year between July and October.

He said that election commission is gearing up for the polls and steps are being taken for meeting recommendations of the international community to ensure free and fair polls.

Earlier, the main opposition led by former President Mohamed Nasheed had expressed doubt over holding of elections as all the main opposition candidates have either been disqualified or exiled on various charges.

Mr. Nasheed is under exile after facing charges for the abduction of a judge, Jumhoree party leader Qasim Ibrahim has been disqualified for being age of 65 and several other opposition leaders have been jailed.

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Bilateral ties have been blighted by three major strategic contradictions: the border dispute, the Tibet issue, and India’s reckoning that China-Pakistan friendship poses a threat. However, it is unlikely that the three interwoven conundrums will be solved in the near future; control and management are the only way out, according to an article published in China’s prestigious newspaper Global Times.