Maldives apologises over anti-India remark

Last Updated: Sun, Nov 11, 2012 15:58 hrs

Male: After a scathing anti-India remark by a government spokesperson over an airport project by an Indian company, Maldives has officially dissociated itself from the comment and apologized.

Maldives president Mohamed Waheed as well as pro-government Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) have condemned the remarks made against the Indian High Commissioner D M Mulay by government Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza.

At a rally organized by the Civil Coalition against Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) operator GMR (an Indian company) on Friday night, Abbas had said that Mulay had taken bribe from the Indian company and said that "the Indian High Commissioner would have to leave the country the same day GMR is ousted."

Abbas also purportedly called Mulay anti-Maldives and that he is not wanted on their soil.

But a day later on Saturday, the government disassociated itself from the remarks made at Friday night's gathering held on the involvement of GMR in the INIA.

"The Government of Maldives disassociates itself from the remarks made by the Spokesperson of the President's Office Mr Abbas Adil Riza, and some other government officials, at a gathering held last evening against the involvement of GMR in the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport," said a statement by Waheed.

"The gathering was organised by some political parties including some members of the public. The views expressed at the gathering by Mr Abbas Adil Riza, though his own views, are regrettable, and do not reflect the views of the Government of Maldives, particularly those made against the Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives Mr D. M. Mulay," he said.

Dhivehi Rayyithunge party (DRP) also issued a statement in which it said the remarks are "against the international diplomatic protocols and could undermine the long existing relations between India and Maldives."

DRP said it believes that diplomatic rows must be resolved diplomatically.

GMR Male International Airport Pvt. Ltd. is a joint venture company promoted by Bangalore-headquartered GMR Infrastructure Limited (GIL) along with its sole consortium partner Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB).

In June 2010, the consortium won concession for the Male International Airport (later renamed as Ibrahim Nasir International Airport ) for a period of 25 years.

Ibrahim Nasir International Airport INIA is the special purpose vehicle formed in Maldives pursuant to the concession in which the stake of GIL and MAHB is 77% and 23% respectively.

More than 1200 employees from Maldives Airports Company Ltd (MACL) will be transferred to GMR Male International Airport Pvt. Ltd. (GMIAL) as part of the privatisation.

After this transfer, MACL will only be responsible for Air Traffic Control, Aviation Security Command and some smaller offices.

All other departments that MACL was managing previously will be transferred to GMIAL.

There has been many criticism of the GMR managing the airport in Male. Many protests were organized against GMR and it has become very unpopular among the Maldivians, according to reports.

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