Nasheed worried about other nations entering Indian Ocean

As China seeks to expand its influence in Maldives, former President Mohamed Nasheed today said he is "worried" other nations might gain a foothold in the Indian Ocean and asserted that the strategic region's stability will depend on his country's "strong" ties with India.

"I am always worried about others countries entering Indian Ocean. We always believe that stable Indian Ocean will depend on strong relations with India. We believe that good foreign policy is to find a friend and stick with him and not play that friend with other people," Nasheed said, two days after he walked out of the Indian mission in Male where he was holed up since February 13 to evade an arrest warrant, ending eleven days of stalemate.

Nasheed made these remarks in first public comments after coming out of the Indian High Commission when asked whether he thought the present government in Maldives is allowing China to gain more foothold in the country.

"Our foreign policy is simple and again it is a worry that other countries might find a foothold in the Indian Ocean and specially in the Maldives," Nasheed told 'Times Now'.

Asked whether he thought that Indian government was giving him an unstinted support, the leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party said, "I don't believe India is supporting any individual or any single party. But it has a view on what is best for India and therefore how that can be attained through a stable government here.

"So, their view is how we can have stable government in Maldives. Existing government is formed by coup."

Nasheed said he was worried about his security but that "doesn't mean we can stay at home and not do our work. We must get out and see that situation here stabilises and work as much as we can. We will do it."

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