India refuses to meet Special Envoy from Maldives as tension mounts

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on February 08, 2018

Mohamed Asim, Maldives Foreign Minister   -  PTI

India has rejected a meeting with the Foreign Minister of Maldives Mohamed Asim, who is also the designated Special Envoy of the Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, a day after that country’s Supreme Court reversed its decision to release all political prisoners.

As the crisis reached a peak, the Maldivian government has taken a stance to send emissaries to “friendly nations” in order to provide an update on the current situation there.

Apart from Asim who was asked to visit India and Pakistan, the Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed was sent to China and Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Mohamed Shainee was asked to visit Saudi Arabia.

Refutes claims

However, as tensions continued to rise, reports emerged that Maldives had bypassed India. Refuting such reports, the Embassy of Maldives issued a statement here on Wednesday stating that it was India that rejected meeting the Special Envoy as both Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj were travelling.

A statement issued by Shazra Abdul Sattar, Deputy Chief of Mission and Minister at the Maldives Embassy here, said: “The first stop of the special envoy of the President was India. But the visit was cancelled on the request of the Government of India. The Government of the Maldives was informed that the said dates were not suitable for India’s leadership. It is, therefore, grossly misleading to say that the Government of the Maldives was bypassing India.”

However, according to sources, India rejected the meeting with the Special Envoy because it wants the Maldivian government to lift emergency and ensure return to normalcy.

India’s stance

“Firstly, there is a set protocol to send an envoy. We have not been informed of the purpose of sending the envoy. Also, we have not seen any real action on the concerns stated by the international community and India. Democratic institutions and the judiciary continue to be undermined and concerns ignored, these issues need to be properly addressed,” a top official told BusinessLine requesting anonymity.

Apart from India, the US and the European Union have expressed serious concern over the present situation in Maldives.

Court decision

The Supreme Court of Maldives, had late on Tuesday, reversed its earlier decision to release all political prisoners, including former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed.

Nasheed, who is under self-exile in London, has urged India to intervene ‘militarily’ into the crisis.

Published on February 08, 2018

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