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Ex-Defense Minister: Govt. made a mistake in involving MNDF in UTF

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Former Defense Minister and current MP for Maduvvari Adam Shareef Umar has said that the government made a mistake when involving the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) in the Uthuru Thila Falhu agreement issue.

The government of the Maldives entered into an agreement with India to develop a dockyard in the Uthuru Thila Falhu during a visit by Indian Defense Minister to the Maldives in February. 

A draft of the agreement was leaked by former Home Minister Umar Naseer, causing controversy and public outrage that the agreement favored India and gave it too much power. MNDF senior officers then held a news conference to clear up the controversy caused by the issue. 

MP Adam Shareef tweeted last night that the involvement of the MNDF in the issue would cause a loss of public faith in the military. 

"The pointing of the finger of corruption towards the MNDF in a manner that demeans the military is concerning. The government made a wrong in involving the MNDF in the UTF agreement. Because of this the trust and confidence and respect by the public in the army is reduced. This is what we are seeing right now," said MP Umar. 

The Defense Ministry has also issued a statement saying that it will not allow the respect and trust of the public in the army to be eroded. 

However, former Minister Umar Naseer said that he believed the actual agreement with India would be very similar to the draft leaked by him. The draft agreement was first reported by the media outlet "Dhiyares" which reported that the draft was received by a senior MNDF official. 

However, the MNDF said that the document was a baseless lie and even refuted claims of bribery collected by the MNDF officers in relation to the agreement.