An emergency motion was submitted to the Parliament on Monday, criticising the government’s handling of the recent incident where several Maldivian fishing vessels were boarded by Indian soldiers inside the Maldives’ maritime territory. Ungoofaaru MP Mohamed Waheed presented the motion on Wednesday afternoon, which saw a unanimous approval with 54 votes in favour of consideration.

The motion accuses state institutions of failing to protect the Maldives’ sovereignty and the safety of its people, highlighting a lack of clear communication that had led to widespread panic and fear. It alleges the government’s inaction in addressing these violations of Maldivian territory as a dereliction of its legal duties.

The opposition, spearheaded by The Democrats President and Henveiru West Constituency Member Hassan Latheef, has called for the summoning of Defence Minister Ghassan Maumoon to answer for these “repeated and unwarranted incidents” involving the Indian Coast Guard within the Maldives’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). 

Latheef’s motion outlines three critical questions aimed at the government’s awareness, response, and policy adjustments to prevent future occurrences. Minister Maumoon is expected to appear before Parliament following a 14-day notice.

This motion follows an incident reported last Wednesday where Indian coastguard ships were accused of unlawfully entering the Maldivian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), boarding, and searching several Maldivian fishing vessels. 

The Ministry of Defence has condemned these actions, accusing India of violating international maritime laws. Despite immediate demands for an explanation from the Indian government, there has yet to be a response.

The incident involved at least three Maldivian fishing vessels near the Maldives’ northern maritime boundary, notably increasing tensions between the two Indian Ocean neighbours. The MNDF Coastguard responded to the incident involving the “Asuruma-3” fishing vessel, under direct orders from President Dr Mohamed Muizzu. Further investigations confirmed the boarding of two additional vessels, “Niru 7” and “Maahoara 3,” by Indian military forces.

Among the vessels impacted, ‘Maahoara-3’ faced a second boarding near the location of a previous incident, further escalating concerns over the repeated violations of the Maldivian sovereignty by Indian forces.