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Information war waged against India in Maldives under garb of nationalist identity: Report

ANI | Updated: Nov 01, 2021 22:32 IST

Male [Maldives], November 1 (ANI): A new report by Colombo based agency has revealed that a big information war is being waged by certain parties in the Maldives against India, whereby the perpetrators are spreading misinformation under the garb of nationalist identity.
Colombo Information Agency last week revealed that information war is aimed to generate anti-India sentiment in the country. This information was unearthed following extensive analysis on how the hashtag #IndiaOut become a big sensation in the Maldives since 2019, Trueceylon News reported.
The anti-India hashtag which took Twitter by storm in the Maldives was in fact, an orchestrated info-war flourished by the Maldivian journalist, Ahmed Azaan and his proponents.
Ahmed has been serving as an editor of Dhiyares and The Maldives Journal since 2019 and has advocated for ex-President of Maldives Abdulla Yameen, according to Trueceylon.
The agency, which analysed the birth of hashtag #IndiaOut, said that only a handful of handles were running this staged cyber-warfare in the name of Maldivian sentiments.
According to the report, the anti-India hashtag has been in trend since 2017 but gained momentum in 2019 when the political upheavals between Maldives and India upsurged.
"The hashtag has been put to use by Twitteratis for a tremendous sixty thousand times which was only a work of mere two thousand handles out of which approximate thirteen hundred handles were found to be Azaan's followers."

The further revealed that several publications like Dhiyares and The Maldives Journal have been constantly serving as the mouthpiece to disseminate content highlighting the India-Maldives clash.
Interestingly, Trueceylon News pointed out that over 200 handles had contributed a gigantic amount of 80% per cent in the hashtag and attempted to create a mirage that a large amount of Maldivians are rooting for #IndiaOut.
Reportedly, this strategically planned info-war was started to extend support to the ex-president of the country, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom in response to his defeat in the 2018 Presidential polls.
Despite no information regarding the funding behind such an orchestrated campaign, the pro-China stance of its main proponents has also found traces in the report, according to Trueceylone.
Separately, Mohamed Saeed, former Minister of Economic Development has been encouraging hate sentiments for President Ibrahim Solih's government to bring pro-China derived Abdulla Yameen to power.
In 2020, Saeed was invited as a key speaker in one of the Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS's) online conducted international conference. In this conference, he talked about how the Maldives may face challenges with evolving Indian Ocean scenario, reported Maldives Voice.
He made claims about how the ruling party Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has been performing poorly and the socio-economic progress that the Maldives made under former President Yameen's regime is crumbling apart, reported Maldives Voice.
At the conference, he relayed his distress quoting a 2018 CNN based report that stated, 'as China grows, India is looking to build military presence in Seychelles'. He is worried if the Maldives would be at a greater loss by being too dependent on India.
When asked about the growing influence of China in the Maldives, he quickly made remarks saying the Maldives did not invent free trade and that Maldives had approached the US, Japan and EU for free trade agreements (FTAs) too but only China was willing to invest and explore the Maldives. (ANI)