OPERATION BLUE WATERS
Election 2009 won victory for the Lotus Party in India. Lotus supplied the Capricorn Administration with a sophisticated defence package.
On 9th December 2010, India launched ‘Dosti IX’ joint exercise with the Coastguard Unit of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF). This time believed to be of large scale manoeuvre conducted in full stretch of the entire archipelago from Ihavandippol in the north to Addu Atoll in the south.
Two days before Dosti commenced, the island of Gan in the Suvadives was evacuated. Locals from the islands in the vicinity practised agriculture in Gan of Suvadiva and board to work in their plots on daily basis. The MNDF called off the people to leave without cutting the harvest.
As the islanders watched in the next few weeks, Indian navy ships arrived and dumped heavy supplies of ground handling equipment, trucks, crafts, dinghies, food, fuel and livestock, artillery, tents, generator sets, medicine and construction material.
Indian armed forces stretched from Fua Mulak to Addu Atoll. Heavy aircrafts touched down at Gan and in the north it was Kela where supplies were brought in likewise. Heavy aircrafts touched down at Hanimadeu.
Further inland on Addu Atoll and in Fua Mulak military exercises took place with the MNDF personnel. During the peak of 2010, tourists watched the Indian aircrafts and helicopters spreading displays of colours green, white and saffron orange in the southern skies. Paratroopers jumped into the sea and military drill with artillery demonstrated on trucks and jeeps. The tourists took pictures, indeed fascinating for the fact of extending friendship between two ‘Dosti’ neighbours.
Fua Mulak served an airstrip as the outcome of an agreement reached with Denmark in the cause of the Equator Zone. The exercises principally concentrated in the Equatorial waters from Gan of Suvadiva to Addu. In the north it was moderate in Kela and off the coast.
On 29th December 2010, Prime Minister Lotus signed contract with the President of Maldives to set up a space station in the Equator Zone.
“For the next 100 years India embarks to build and run a space launching station in the Equator Zone of the Maldives. Military presence will be established in the region to protect our facility. The space station will encompass a floating platform to launch India’s state-of-the-art satellites to space directly from the equator in order to reduce fuel cost and in the region close to the equator, earth’s rotation gives additional velocity, it is simpler to manoeuvre a satellite to its orbit.” PM Lotus continued in his address, “From now on ‘Exercise Dosti’ proceeding in Maldivian waters will change its name to ‘Operation Blue Waters’. India’s military personnel from the Army, Navy and Air Force will remain positioned for the next 100 years.”
Meanwhile in the Maldives some areas had been fortified with barbed wire during the exercises carried out initially in the name of friendship. Apparently it all became clear of military zones held in their possession hoisting the Indian Flag in such interfaces; northeast coast of Meedu in Addu Atoll, an area around Bandara Kuli in Fua Mulak, Gan of Suvadiva and a portion of Kela Island in the north.
By twelve noon on that day, 29th December, the whole world stopped focus at the Maldives.
Only the mighty Americans could observe from the sky like an eagle. They sent espionage flights flown from Diego Garcia. Obviously this was not the first time India betrothed military operations in the Maldives and in these waters somewhat passable but this time called to shock.
An hour later, the US spokesman said, “United States do not stand with India to build a space station in the Maldives with military presence. United States firmly calls on India to cease activity with regard to Operation Blue Waters immediately and pull back its arsenal from the Maldives. We denounce the Maldivian Government to instigate such a deplorable agreement for a time span of hundred years with the Government of India thereby undermining the sovereignty of the island nation. We call upon the President of Maldives to resign and give way for democracy.”
Foreign Minister of the UK said, “This action of President Capricorn is disagreeable to the people of the Republic of Maldives. It is absolutely intolerable for the Maldivian people to depend on a mighty Indian nation, it undermines international laws and utterly confusing in the manner both nations behaved not in democratic values we understand. This action can be only termed as colonisation of a small state by a strong military power. We disapprove Operation Blue Waters. Britain has been the best advisor for more than a quarter and hundred years and we, the British Government and Head of the Commonwealth Nations, call on the Maldivian citizens to vote out the existing leadership and both nations to repeal this unforgivable agreement.”
It shocked the Maldivian public. They called it a Black Day, 29th December. Parties organised protests in peaceful conduct initially carrying banners and placards marching around the High Commission of India, calling India to withdraw military intervention. Emotion stirred and day by day demonstrations turned hostile. It was embarrassing for the people to face Indian employees. The islanders felt helpless. A newly rising superpower would likely not withdraw. Websites talked about Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi sending troops to save the Maldives in November 1988. Hindi movies and songs were part of Maldivian custom, even the dress code. It all looked suddenly Indian. Soon sentiment turned into fights with the police and Indian migrant workers. Hate grew between the two peoples of the dosti nations that remained peaceful and friendly for many centuries.
An EU press release came out after two days as it turned out to be New Year holidays and a formality was not organised urgently on this issue over the nation of Maldives. It stated briefly, “European Council of the Union advised to sanction the Maldives by terminating current and future contributions by all EU nations. EU believes this action undertaken by President Capricorn is dictatorial, subject to insufficient democratic reform and inconsistent to the public. EU denounces the failure to consult with the Parliament. President Capricorn will not be permitted to visit an EU state. A meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers is scheduled for the 12th of January and decide on how to deal with the Maldives Crisis.”
On an NDTV interview President Capricorn was asked, “EU sets sanctions on your country. What is your response?”
“EU undermines our sovereign right to head on with indentures that bring advancement and maturity to our nations. This agreement is between two sovereign states. I have orchestrated similar contracts with even EU states and not necessarily to consultation with the Parliament. It is not indispensable in our constitution. Denmark is operating an airstrip in Fua Mulak for 50 years. Germany has undertaken power generations and water systems in the Equator Zone for 50 years. Japan is modernising transport and communication in the region for 50 years. We have other obligation with India for an unlimited time period, the Kela Energy Project, nuclear energy distribution to Maldives. Besides, we have leased resort islands and space for hotels to private parties. We have given state projects to foreign firms for long term. None of which seemed deplorable. These schemes give opportunity of jobs to people to work in various fields. As of the space station programme we benefit from an annual payment. As for military presence, it is vital to have a practical force to safeguard important facilities. You find the French Space Centre on Kourou Island in French Guiana with a powerful military arsenal though you may claim that is a French Colony, we are way off colonialism. American bases, you find them in sovereign countries. As for this type of crucial facilities, we cannot do without viable protection.” President Capricorn told the interviewer.
In the meantime, Indian troops briefly vacated the interface marked with barbed wire near Fua Mulak mangrove called Bandara Kuli amidst Miskiimagu, Malegam, Funad and Doondigam. They remained fixed in Kela Island in the north, Meedu Island in Addu Atoll and Gan of Suvadiva. The Indian forces under orders were engaged in developing military bases.
International media flew flights over the region taking pictures in the first week of January. Publications appeared with diagrams of floating launch pad modules and articles about perceived defence strategies. Shortly their interests were distracted by new development in the Middle East.
Prime Minister Lotus had not appeared to say anything about the whole issue. When it became clear that EU would stop flights and obstruct tourism in the Maldives, Indian Foreign Minister Lakshmi Dev Kalkin brought a statement, “EU has a clear misunderstanding. It’s up for EU to put sanctions on Maldives. From India’s position, we have no intonation over what EU does with Maldives or any other country. Maldives is a sovereign country and India has taken this decision independently and our position is transparent in concurrence with the agreement signed between the two nations. India will continue to build the space station. There is no nation or an international community or organisation that can stop us. We have no slightest intention to turn back or reconsider this legally binding agreement. There is no way we pull back our military before 100 years.”
It was evident India would defend its property and rights by all means. It would be confrontational if any source wished to force India out of Maldives waters. In the present day India happened to be a superpower; economically, politically and militarily. Nations tend not to believe in her might but with an issue like this India proved to stand tall.
EU Foreign Ministers finally agreed that India could expand its interests on mutual grounds between two sovereign countries. India already secured an air force base in Tajikistan. Naval blockade or sanction was not the correct approach to resolve this issue. Thus EU eased sanction but called on President Capricorn to step down.
India maintained their presence moderately in the interfaces and at the moment in no rush to execute its space programme in Maldives territory.
India’s choice to use the term ‘Operation Blue Waters’ brought to dig Mehdi’s ideology of Blue Waters and issues related to regional cooperation, environment, demography and so forth. The low-lying islands of the Maldives exposed to global warming and sea-level rise pose to apparent threat from environmental disaster. It proved in the Asian Tsunami 2004. Any government in the Maldives could therefore take action for the safety of the Maldivian people but question was raised if the country had stepped on the right approach. Scientific research showed that the islands would vanish by the year 2050. United Nations would not have a chair for a nation called the Maldives; either gone extinct or absent.
President Capricorn was a pioneer to raise the issue of environmental threats to low-lying countries. In Capricorn’s theory he was dedicated to Kyoto Protocol that called to reduce emission of greenhouse gases in order to protect the planet from climate change. On the other hand, Blue Waters depicted islanders to be moved to a mainland, preferably India calling upon unification. Mehdi was disposed to an idea of rolling down the flag and give up sovereignty that had lasted thousands of years. He believed there was no way to control Mother Nature. All these issues raised international concern as it happened to be the most outspoken debate and yet very little done in the plan of action.
At this juncture, matters took a turn for good or bad when the Prime Minister of Australia suggested, “We will take the Maldivian people as Australian citizens in case disaster strikes if the nation becomes an Australian protectorate,” in other words a colony.
MUM was then a minor political movement in the Maldives that responded in welcoming Australia’s standpoint. This angered India. This gained additional support to MUM. Even Dr Rehene Greene called Mehdi to congratulate on his new direction.
International community declined to agree with Australia saying that the people of the Maldives must be disseminated as refugees to states that would take them and in climates favourable for the islanders to survive. In the 21st century world, developed nations maintained that peoples’ mindsets must change to adapt to cultures in case of disaster that might cause an exodus and in order to achieve this objective, indigenous people like the Maldivian islanders must be distributed all over the world and not be located in settlements of a one-spot ghetto.
Then in August 2011, once again India stepped up to shock the international community by approving a bill in the Indian Congress to protect the Maldives and the islanders from any outside intervention by applying all possible means in India’s power.
Another shocker was a draft on unification outlined by Bharathi Masthi that so titled ‘Legislature and Statehood of State 36’, that became particularly known as ‘Law Thirty-Six’. It described how India-Maldives communities and autonomy would share rights, races, cultures, religions, people, societies, social and economical rights, freedom, political and geographical new recognition, new political mapping, power sharing, central government and local government legislature, democracy, bond-free, visa-free, duty-free, equal right of ‘Maldivian-is-Indian and Indian-is-Maldivian’ in the united territories of India and that the Maldives belong to India’s supreme sovereignty and constituent to Indian Congress and the legislative rule of New Delhi. It declared the Maldives as the thirty-sixth State Archipelago and the sixth Union Territory of India. In its manuscript, Mahl or Maldivian Language acknowledged politically in India among 428 languages, spoken by 4500 tribal folks of Divehi origin in Minicoy Island in the Indian territory of the Laccadives, would then be recognised as Divehi Bas that comprised a unique script of alphabets.
UN Secretary General said, “India’s interest over Maldives should not undermine the nation’s sovereignty and it is of concern to the international community to discuss the Maldives issue who is a member state of the United Nations, independent and a sovereign country. It is an obligation of the UN to protect Maldives to remain a nation independent and sovereign as ever before and in the future. It is disappointing that India has come to a point to protect the Maldives in unilateral terms. India must also answer to the international community about its military presence in the Maldives.”
Indian Foreign Minister responded in a press conference, “They talk about a draft on unification by Bharathi Masthi and it’s not India’s position and not the government position. Our position is that we stand firm as to the bill passed in Lok Sabha, India will protect the Maldives from outside intervention.”
A journalist asked, “Does that mean possible use of military force?”
“Depends on the strategy that maybe advised,” minister confirmed.
“UN Secretary General says action is unilateral. Is that a correct argument?”
Foreign Minister replied, “This is not the first time we have taken action unilaterally over protecting a society or people. Remember, during the Taliban era in Afghanistan, we called all Hindus to come to India and we gave them citizenship. The Taliban made obligatory for the Hindus to wear yellow labels to distinguish them from Moslems. Hindu minority was discriminated. India was the only country that stood up to protect them. UN was more concerned about the Taliban blast of Bamiyan Buddha.”
EU, the Commonwealth, the US, the UK, global organisations and Asia sent observers and delegations stressing President Capricorn to step down. He released a statement claiming that he would not stand next term election in 2013. It again infuriated the public because it was too little, too late. Democracy wasn’t in good shape and the islands weren’t peaceful. The public paid a huge price in the name of democracy and islands grew more parté than party.
MUM as a political movement was banned in November 2011 along with its website and circulation of Blue Waters in the Maldives. Mehdi was jailed for three months. Bottom line of interrogations conducted; mind change to support Australia’s protectorate state offer. His files were checked and offices ransacked. It was still a police state and pragmatically activities increased of the notorious G-Force. On this case Mehdi could feel a cold hand of India against him. Mehdi continued to hold his hypothetic beliefs and claimed it was the right time to engage Australia for a commitment. Mehdi was later released from prison but his passport was confiscated.
Many charity groups from the western world arrived to the Maldives between 2010 and 20