India urges Maldives again to maintain calm

Monday, 5 March 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

New Delhi: India has urges all parties in Maldives to maintain calm and to exercise restraint, said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday.

In a reply to a question on developments in the Maldives, the official spokesperson urged all parties to maintain calm and to exercise restraint.

He encouraged them to exercise their responsibilities to the Maldivian people, and to continue necessary discussions under the All Party Consultative Committee and the People’s Majlis to find a peaceful and viable solution as agreed under the Roadmap.

He reiterated the Government of India’s position that this was an internal matter of the Maldives, to be resolved by Maldivians in a peaceful and democratic manner.

India, he said, stood ready to assist the Government and people of Maldives in any manner necessary.

India has already welcomed Maldives government’s decision to hold discussions with all relevant parties to conduct elections at an early date.

Earlier on Feb 9, an advisor to former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed, who was ousted on Feb 7 in an apparent military coup, said that India needed to clearly state which side it supported as political turmoil in the neighbouring island nation continued.

“India needs to get off the fence...India needs to decide who it supports,” Paul Roberts, the former communications aide to Nasheed, said, speaking to an Indian television news network.

New Delhi has maintained a largely neutral stand, stating that the change of power in Maldives is an internal matter of the island nation in the Indian Ocean, refusing reported appeals of military intervention by the ousted administration.

According to media reports, some of Nasheed’s ministers had asked for military assistance from India when the coup was underway, but their request fell on deaf ears even though islands are home to about 30,000 Indians, and India has strategic and commercial interests in Maldives.

Sources in New Delhi claimed that there wasn’t any indication of a ‘serious proposal’ from the Malidivian government, however India has been working behind the scenes to ensure that the new government took complete responsibility of law and order during the situation.

A news release from the Indian government, however, said that following the transition of power in Maldives Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Feb 8 told the new President Mohammed Waheed Hassan that that New Delhi is committed to working with Male.

Waheed Hassan spoke to Singh on telephone within 24 hours of taking charge and the Indian Prime Minister underlining that India and Maldives share “common security interests”, the government release said. Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed on Feb 7 resigned after public protests disrupted the island nation for weeks over the President’s order to arrest a senior judge of the country. He announced his resignation in a TV address to the nation.

The nation witnessed violent street protests over the order given by Nasheed to arrest the chief judge of the Criminal Court, Abdulla Mohamed. Nasheed had ordered to arrest Mohammed after had directed to release a government critic. He had called the arrest as illegal. (IBNS)