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Khurshid prods Maldives

New Delhi, Dec. 7: Salman Khurshid today asked the Maldivian government to control elements in the Indian Ocean archipelago that want to harm relations between the neighbours.

“If they have to take a decision in the interest of their society and country and if that decision is taken properly as per laws there, what objections can anyone have there? We would want that whatever is the decision, it should not put any question marks on our friendly relations,” the external affairs minister said.

Khurshid said elements in the Maldives that are raising an anti-India propaganda need to be controlled. “If any quarters there (in the Maldives) want that our relations should be harmed, then they should be controlled. I think the Maldives and its people know this thing properly and I am sure that they will do the same thing.”

Asked if India would “intervene” in the issue, he said: “For commercial enterprises no one intervenes, but we have been assured about the security and safety of our citizens and interests there. To that extent, it is our right and we have also told them about this right.”

Khurshid said the Indian government had no right to intervene on commercial issues. “On the commercial discussions, we don’t have the right and there is no justification for it. Try to understand the issue in right context and I think there is nothing to worry about,” he said.

GMR handover

Maldives’ state-run MACL tonight took over the operations of the Male International Airport from GMR after the Indian infrastructure major lost a week-long legal battle over the “unilateral” termination of its $511-million airport modernisation contract.

“Maldives Airport Company Limited has taken over the operations of the Ibrahim Nassir International Airport from GMR. The transfer process was very smooth and seamless,” President Mohamed Waheed’s press secretary Masood Imad said, adding there would be a three-week transition period during which GMR and MACL would work together.