Addressing her annual press conference India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said that even though the neighboring country has received several invitations to visit Maldives, they refrain from visiting the country since the Maldivian government has not met some of their requests.
In one of the press conferences held by the Indian institutions to celebrate four years of Prime Minister Modi's administration, Minister Sushma Swaraj also said that she has received four invitation letters from the Maldivian Foreign Minister Dr. Mohamed Asim. However, her 'visit has not taken place yet' since the Maldivian government has not attended to the 'points on which we asked to be taken forward' in the discussion held during Minister Asim's visit to India. The minister did not specify the discussion points.
While briefing the media, Shushma Swaraj also said that India has councelled the Maldives regarding the 45-day state of emergency declared by President Abdulla Yameen's government, and added that the island nation's 'democracy has not returned entirely' since then.
When questioned regarding the clashes between both the nations, Minister Shushma Swaraj responded saying, 'Maldives is our neighbour. 'India First' is part of the Maldivian foreign policy'. Additionally, while highlighting the fact that there has been ups and downs in the relationship between both the countries, the state minister said that their 'relations can't break and will not break' regardless.
One of the media stations asked about the request to return one out of the two helicopters gifted by the Indian government to the Maldives, Minister Shushma Swaraj said that it is a matter affilitated with Defense Ministry. However, she added that the discussions regarding the issue are currently ongoing.
Furthermore, the state minister stated that despite the disagreements, 'humanitarian assistance has not been stopped', nor has their been any cuts.
When the press asked about the growing Chinese influence on Maldives, the minister said that it is seen as a concern in New Delhi.