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International relations

Maldives scrambles to silence anti-India campaign

Bill in parliament looks to 'criminalize' acts that harm foreign relations

The Maldives, South Asia's smallest nation, is returning as an important actor in the regional power struggle between China and India. (Source photos by Reuters)

COLOMBO -- Lawmakers in the Maldives are rushing to finalize a draft bill in order to stifle a diplomatic storm caused by former President Abdulla Yameen, who has become the public face of anti-Indian rallies in the South Asian nation since his release from house arrest in November.

The bill, which is expected to be tabled early in the current session of the 87-member legislature, includes punitive language aimed at political movements that threaten foreign relations in the strategically located nation. Among the penalties, according to local media, are jail terms and house arrest.

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