Saturday, 24 February, 2018

When should India employ hard power in Maldives?

The Maldives Maldives unrest forces travellers to cancel trips
Nellie Chapman | 09 February, 2018, 03:38

February 07 (ANI): India was disturbed by the declaration of the state of emergency in the Maldives, following Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen's refusal to abide by the Supreme Court's ruling, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Tuesday.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry cautioned Israelis not to visit the Maldives due to the current political crisis in the country.

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

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.

"Members of the cabinet, on the direction of President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, will visit friendly nations of the Maldives and provide updates on the current situation", it added.

The foreign ministry did not respond to repeated queries for India's reaction to the Maldivian outreach to the three countries.

Saeed was arrested as President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency in the honeymoon islands after refusing to obey the court order.

The MEA in a statement two days back said it is "very disturbed" by the declaration of Emergency in Maldives and the refusal of the Government to abide by the unanimous ruling of the Supreme Court, the arrest of the Supreme Court Chief Justice, former President and other political figures.

Envoys from the European Union, Germany and Britain arrived in the capital yesterday after the regime said it was open to foreign observers but Mr Yameen refused to meet them. "That is surely not the way forward", it said in a post on social network Twitter. However, it is not warning against travel to the Maldives and it said there are no reports that any other islands or the global airport are affected.

Nasheed, in exile since he was allowed to go overseas for medical treatment in 2016, urged India to send an envoy "backed by the military" to the Maldives to free the detained judges and political prisoners. But although it sent soldiers to foil a coup against the government in 1988, India has since refrained from getting directly involved in the country's unstable politics.

The Maldives has been in a state of turmoil since 2015 when Nasheed, the first democratically elected president of the country, was arrested on "terrorism" charges, relating to the arrest of a judge during his tenure.

"The Chief Justice was forcefully dragged on the floor from his chambers by uniformed security personnel in riot gear after he told them they were in contempt of court", Hussain said.

"You also certainly can't talk about threatening the security of the Indian Ocean region", he said in response to an article by Nasheed in an Indian newspaper that criticised China for a "land grab" of the islands and for threatening regional security.