Malé, Maldives – MP of Addu Meedhoo constituency, Rozaina Adam has taken the stance to stand against forwarding the Uthuru Thilafushi (UTF) agreement signed between Maldives and India, to the Committee on National Security Services (241 Committee).
Rozaina, who previously suggested that the matter be forwarded to the 241 committee when the opposition raised concerns about the UTF agreement initially during the time it was signed, has now changed her tone, and disagrees that it would be a good idea for the agreement to be reviewed by the 241 committee.
This comes at a time when some members of the Parliament are calling for the agreement to be sent to the committee for review, after an unsigned draft agreement of UTF was leaked by the former Home Minister Umar Naseer. This sparked an emergency motion being filed to the Parliamentary floor, which was discussed extensively.
Rozaina defended her stance, referring to previous leaks of confidential documents from within the Parliament, saying that it would be unwise to have an agreement like the UTF agreement at the committee, given the history of such leaks from within the Parliament.
The work done by Maldives National Defense Force is a very serious job. Work done in collaboration with other countries. So it is a given that the agreements made by them might get leaked and our state secrets are put out in the open for everyone to know, due to these political shenanigans. This is clear from the leaked document as well – whether it is a fake or other.MP Rozaina Adam, Addu Meedhoo constituency
While Rozaina does not agree with the agreement being forwarded to the 241 committee, the Speaker of the Parliament has also stated that the agreement need not be forwarded to the Parliament at all.
The controversy behind this agreement was sparked due to the leaked draft agreement – declared a fake by MNDF – which states that armed Indian military personnel would be stationed at the Uthuru Thilafalhu, which is to be developed as a dock yard and harbor to be used by Coast Guard. The duration of the agreement was stated as 30 years, with an additional 30 years to be added to the duration, given no objections are made from either party.
According to the constitution of the Maldives, any foreign military presence in the country must be approved by a majority vote of the Parliament. At this time, and even previously, MNDF and the Defense Ministry have reassured the public that there would be no foreign military presence at the Uthuru Thila Falhu area.