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 Islands apart: on India-Maldives ties

Recent moves by Abdulla Yameen, President of the Maldives, have put Malé on a collision(टकराव) course with New Delhi. Even the presidential election, which India has been calling for, is a point of contention(विवाद/तर्क). On Thursday, India criticised(आलोचना की) the government for its incarceration(क़ैद कर देना/बांधना) of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, sentenced to 19 months in prison(कारागार /जेल) for an alleged(कथित तौर पर/निर्दिष्ट) plot to unseat Mr. Yameen. India called the trial a sham, saying the sentencing(फ़ैसला सुनाना/मुजरिम ठहराना )  put a question mark on the credibility(विश्वसनीयता) of the presidential election process. This tough talk may not be taken kindly to in Malé. There has been a series of setbacks in India-Maldives ties, starting from March 2015 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi cancelled a visit in a show of disapproval of the treatment of Mohamed Nasheed, then in prison facing treason(राज-द्रोह) and terror(आतंक)charges. Since then, India has called out many actions of Mr. Yameen’s government, including the conduct of polls, treatment of the judiciary and, in February, his declaration(घोषणा/एलान) of a state of emergency. On the last, it also rejected Mr. Yameen’s offer to send an envoy to explain his decision. Bolstered(बल मिला) by a newly strengthened(मजबूत किया)relationship with China, Mr. Yameen showed no inclination(झुकाव/इच्छा) to heed India’s advice. The strain(तनाव/ज़ोरदार प्रयास)is now evident(प्रत्यक्ष/स्पष्ट) in two areas where India-Maldives ties had been the strongest: strategic relations and people-to-people engagement. The Maldives has conveyed(सूचित करना/सौंपना) to India that it will not extend beyond June 30 the lease of Indian helicopters or the visas of personnel manning them. This signals a marked downturn in defence cooperation(सहयोग/संबंध) between the two countries, which normally coordinate(समकक्ष/समायोजन करना) maritime(समुद्रतटीय) and EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) patrols together. Meanwhile, hundreds of Indians offered employment in the Maldives at resorts, hospitals and colleges have been denied work visas for the past few months.

The Yameen government must reconsider(पुनर्विचार करना) these policies. India too must pause to consider why relations have soured so badly. Until a few years ago, the Maldives affirmed(पुष्टि की/दावे से कहना) an “India First” policy. The fact that the Maldives is the only country in the neighbourhood that Mr. Modi hasn’t visited is one reason, but there are many others. India’s vocal protests(विरोध प्रदर्शन/आपत्ति) on democratic rights in the Maldives have been at variance(परिवर्तन/झगड़ा) with the past policy of taking a more muted line in public while encouraging democracy in official conversations. Mr. Gayoom also ran a near-autocracy for three decades from 1978, and India’s interventions(हस्तक्षेप/बीच-बचाव) always aimed at strengthening the government there, with any misgivings(गलतफहमी/संदेह) conveyed only through quiet diplomacy. India has been the first port of call in crisis for Maldivian leaders; when Mr. Nasheed was deposed in 2012, it was at the Indian embassy that he sought refuge. It’s time to restore the bilateral(द्विपक्षीय/अतिरिक्त) trust.



Important vocabulary

Synonyms: blow, bump, butt, concussion, contact
Antonyms: avoidance, building, compliment, construction, creation

2.Incarceration(क़ैद कर देना/बांधना)
Synonyms: captivity, confinement, restraint
Antonyms: freedom

3.Sentencing(फ़ैसला सुनाना/मुजरिम ठहराना )
Synonyms: blame, condemn, confine, convict, imprison
Antonyms: free, let go, liberate, pardon, praise

Synonyms: crime, mutiny, sedition, subversion, treachery
Antonyms: frankness, harmony, honesty, openness, trustworthiness

5.Bolstered(बल मिला)
Synonyms: aid, boost, buoy, buttress, cushion
Antonyms: block, decrease, discourage, halt, hinder

6.Conveyed(सूचित करना/सौंपना)
Synonyms: bring, send, transfer, transmit, back
Antonyms: receive, take, deny, discourage, dissuade

7.Affirmed(पुष्टि की/दावे से कहना
Synonyms: assert, confirm, declare, guarantee, insist
Antonyms: deny, forget, veto, disavow, refute

8.Protests(विरोध प्रदर्शन/आपत्ति)
Synonyms: challenge, demonstration, dissent, objection, outcry
Antonyms: agreement, answer, calm, concurrence, harmony



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