Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

This is why Maldives President's 'special envoy' didn't visit India

This is why Maldives President's 'special envoy' didn't visit India

India played hardball with Maldives' embattled president Abdulla Yameen on Thursday as global pressure mounted on him to end the emergency imposed after the island-state's Supreme Court last week sought the release of opposition members of Parliament (MPs).

Mr Ahmed Mohamed, the Maldives' ambassador to India, said the government had wanted to send a special envoy to India as well, but the dates were not suitable for the Indian Foreign Ministry.

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.

Since the detentions, the three Supreme Court justices who were not arrested have annulled the court's order to free the imprisoned opposition politicians. Western governments, as well as neighboring India and China, have asked their citizens not to vacation in the Maldives, a nation of 1,192 tiny coral islands scattered 800 kilometers (550 miles) across the equator.

Mr Yameen has drawn close to China and Saudi Arabia during his time in office, with both countries investing heavily in the tiny nation.

Nasheed, meanwhile, sought aid from neighboring India earlier this week, asking it to intervene in the crisis that erupted on February 1 with the Supreme Court ruling.

Indian intervention in the Maldives, about 400 km (249 miles) away, would not be unprecedented, as New Delhi sent troops in 1988 to foil a coup. We have not been informed of the objective of sending the envoy.

Indicating that India may have declined the proposed visit, a source said, "Also we have not seen any real action on the concerns stated by the worldwide community and India. Democratic institutions and the Judiciary continue to be undermined and concerns ignored, these issues need to be properly addressed", sources said. "We call for their immediate release and restoration of democracy and rule of law", said Ali Zahir, Member of Maldives Parliament.

The German Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Jorn Rohde, said the trio requested meetings to discuss Yameen's crackdown on dissent which the United Nations human rights chief had dubbed "an all-out assault on democracy".

The Maldives' top judge received death threats before his arrest in a regime crackdown, his lawyer said on Thursday ahead of a United Nations Security Council hearing on the island nation's political crisis.

Responding to reports that Indian Special Forces were on standby for deployment in the Maldives to evacuate Indians, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said "non-interference in other countries is an important principle of worldwide relations". "I made myself clear".

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