Indian officials were notably missing at the inauguration ceremony of Maldives’ first ever bridge, Sinamalé Bridge, last Thursday.
According to ‘Times of India’, India’s resident Ambassador to Maldives Akhilesh Mishra did not attend the event as the country had chosen to boycott it.
Citing a Maldivian government official, the Indian news outlet said that Mishra has been invited by the government but that he did not attend.
“Mishra’s decision to skip the inauguration, which took place in the presence of a representative of Chinese President Xi Jinping and was marked by Chinese fireworks, was justified later with envoys of other countries being allegedly treated shabbily by President Abdulla Yameen’s security staff at the event,” reports Times of India. Some officials were forced to walk to the venue after being stopped by security, while China’s representative was allowed to drive there.
While the incumbent president described the bridge as ‘the biggest achievement in our diplomatic history’, it was one of his pledges during the 2013 presidential elections.
And with the opening of the USD 200 million bridge just weeks prior to the presidential elections, President Yameen’s supporters believe that it will strengthen his chances of being re-elected.
The president is up against Joint Opposition’s Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in the polls slated for September 23.