India's Jaishankar rebuts President Muizzu: Bullies don't provide $4.5 Billion Aid

04 Mar 2024 | 15:10
Minister of External Affairs of India, S. Jaishankar and President Muizzu

Minister of External Affairs of India, Jaishankar, responded to President Muizzu's indirect remark of India bullying Maldives by stating that bullies would not provide significant assistance to their neighbors.
The remarks were made at a book launch event in Delhi, where Jaishankar addressed perceptions of India as a regional bully.

Big bullies don't provide $4.5 billion when their neighbors are in trouble. Bullies don't supply vaccines to other countries when Covid is on. Bullies don't make exceptions to their own rules to respond to food, fuel & fertilizer demands when war in some part of the world is complicating their lives,

emphasized Jaishankar answering the reporter's question 

While not directly naming any country, Jaishankar's comments indirectly addressed Maldives, particularly highlighting instances where India extended substantial support:

India provided $4.5 billion in assistance for various developmental projects in 2021.

Maldives was the first country to receive vaccines from India during the Covid pandemic, and India continued to be a significant vaccine supplier.

During a period of onion export restrictions in India due to price fluctuations, Maldives received continuous exports of onions.

India maintained consistent exports of various products, including food and medicines, to Maldives.

Tensions between India and Maldives escalated after President Muizzu's visit to China, after returning he made several indirect remarks against India.

He emphasized the need for Maldives to reduce dependence on India and announced measures to decrease reliance on India by:

Sea ambulances, previously using Indian vehicles, were introduced on March 1, utilizing alternative and own resources.

Discussions with China aimed at local production of various food items to ensure a continuous food supply.

An agreement with Turkey to import staples, with the first shipment expected soon.

Exploring alternatives to import medications directly from Europe and America, reducing reliance on Indian pharmaceuticals.

He then asserted that being a smaller nation does not grant the right to be bullied.

We maybe small but that doesn't give you the license to bully us

Stated president after returning from his state visit to China

The strained relations have led to increased scrutiny and questions from civilians and press toward Jaishankar on the matter, who has previously addressed President Muizzu's remarks.

The diplomatic exchange raises questions about the future of bilateral relations between the two nations.