Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, speaking at a formal gathering for the first time since his transfer to house arrest, called on President-elect Mohamed Muizzu to ensure the full restoration of the Maldives’ territorial waters, sovereignty, and independence.

Speaking at the headquarters of the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), Yameen, the leader of the Progressive Congress Coalition, underscored that periodic updates on these issues were crucial.

“Otherwise I will have to go out again [this time] with an ‘India in’ T-shirt. Should that be a hardship thrust upon me after the hardship I have [already] endured? But I will make ‘India In’ T-shirts [if progress stalls],” Yameen said.

Muizzu, during his presidential campaign, had reiterated that removal of Indian troops was a key priority while also highlighting that the Maldives should retain territorial waters as he called for more transparency of the issue.

Yameen acknowledged that the incoming Muizzu administration was currently solidifying policy stances that he believes are important. However, he would observe with keen interest Muizzu’s efforts towards the removal of Indian troops and the recovery of “the territorial waters ceded by the Ibrahim Mohamed Solih administration,” he said.

“It would not be easy for the Muizzu administration going forward as the outgoing administration had eroded the nation’s independence and set back development by 10 years,” Yameen said.

If not vigilant, based on these experiences, the nation could be left vulnerable again, the former president indicated as a note of caution. Discussions to reclaim Minicoy, or ‘Maliku’ as the local Dhivehi speaking population of the island call it, should also be taken up, Yameen said, hinting at the island previously being a part of the Maldives.

Senior leaders of PPM and People’s National Congress (PNC) were absent at Monday night’s gathering.

The Progressive Congress Coalition is a coalition between, political parties, PPM and PNC.