New Delhi: In a sudden and pre-planned move, which has been kept secret and under wraps so far, the Parliament in the Maldives has decided to move on Wednesday (July 22), a constitutional amendment bill which will empower the Government of Maldives to sell islands to private parties, including entities and countries.
Highly placed and well-informed sources have told ANI that it is clear that the beneficiary of this constitutional amendment bill is going to be China.
Once the bill is passed, South Asia could be faced with a scenario of a number of islands being owned by China and other groups, and nations, inimical to India`s interests.
Sources say that the manner in which this constitutional amendment bill is being steered through parliament is a clear indication that the intentions of the Government of The Maldives is suspect.Sources say that nowhere in the world do governments sell sovereign land and property, and this would perhaps be the first instance in recent history, where a government would be empowered to sell its nation`s land/islands to foreign entities.
It may be recalled that earlier this month, the Maldivian Government had conveyed its displeasure over a reported proposal by many Commonwealth countries, including Canada, calling for The Maldives to be put on the agenda of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) over the trial and sentencing of former president Mohamed Nasheed.According to reports, the Foreign Minister of The Maldives, Dunya Maumoon, had called up Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma during the first week of July to convey that her country will "seriously consider its membership at the Commonwealth if the organisation continues to treat it on a selective basis and unfairly, in violation of the Commonwealth`s own rules".
According to a report published by the web site, haveeru.com.mv, two days ago, President Yamin Abdul Gayoom had asked for a parliamentary vote on Maldives` withdrawal from the Commonwealth.A parliamentary sitting to discuss said vote had been scheduled for Monday.
According to the web site, the parliamentary groups of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and its coalition partner Maldives Democratic Alliance (MDA) have reportedly assessed what the ramifications of The Maldives withdrawal from the Commonwealth would have on the country and held a meeting to discuss it.
This information has reportedly been presented to President Yamin by Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb and Attorney General Ahmed Anil.
Reviewing Maldives` relations with the Commonwealth had also been discussed at the last cabinet meeting.
Though no official statement on this move has come from the CMAG so far, many countries, including Canada have publicly called for The Maldives to be put on the agenda, while condemning the trial and the 13-year jail sentence slapped on Nasheed on terrorism charges.India has reportedly voiced its concern over Nasheed`s sentencing, and said it would attend the CMAG special session if invited.