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Maldives’ Islamic extremism irks India

New Delhi, February 11 (IANS): Amid reports of Islamists backing the change of regime in the Maldives, India is concerned about possibilities of the rise of Islamic extremism in the island nation and is closely monitoring the situation. Indian intelligence agencies have received reports of several Maldivian youths going to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to train in madrasas there over the past few years, said informed sources.
Also, in the run-up to the recent events that led to the ouster of President Mohamed Nasheed, there have been reports that some Islamist parties joined opposition protesters against what they saw as anti-Islamic policies followed by Nasheed.
In December last year, several Islamist parties had protested against spas in luxury island resorts in the Maldives which they saw as un-Islamic and demanded their closure.  Against this backdrop, India is closely monitoring the situation as the rise of Islamic extremism in the strategically located island nation could impact the country’s security, given its proximity, sources said. India’s assessment is that such hardline elements in the Maldives are in a minority, but New Delhi is nonetheless keeping a close watch over the unfolding situation. Last year, there were reports that a Maldivian was allegedly involved in a bomb blast in Pakistan.

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