The Ministry of Defense and National Security has declined to reveal the number of Indian soldiers stationed in Maldives after prominent Journalist Ahmed Azaan submitted an official inquiry request on the subject. At an appeal hearing held by the Information Commissioner’s Office, Defense ministry information Officer Mohamed Shimah stated that revealing the total number of Indian soldiers in Maldives under the agreement with India, would cause irrevocable damage to the bilateral ties between the two nations.
Defense Ministry’s information officer refused to reveal any information on the subject while inquirer Azaan stated that there is no legality behind classifying such agreements and details. Information Officer Mohamed Shimah further stated that “at a time when the bilateral ties between Maldives and India is at its closest, revealing such information from the agreement will cause irrevocable damage to the relationship.”.
The 30 minute appeal hearing ended with Information Commissioner Hussein Fiyaz Moosa’s decision to hold a second meeting. The ministry’s decision to withhold the information only fueled public sentiments against the growing Indian influence on the Maldives. Several bouts of rallies and online protests has been witnessed in the past few weeks following growing concern on India’s sway over President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s government.