Stay away from our internal matter, as we do in Kashmir’s case: Maldives tells India

Srinagar

Maldives has asked India to keep off their internal affairs just as they keep their mouth shut on Kashmir issue, an oblique reference to New Delhi’s attempts at getting the island regime to lift emergency, reports claimed.

A report published by media outlet Outlook said that a senior leader from the Maldives on Tuesday said the situation in the Maldives, “like Kashmir issue”, is an “internal” matter and that Delhi should let the local government resolve it.

Mohamed Shainee, a senior minister and chairman of all-party talks to resolve the impasse, said that their government will never preach on the Kashmir issue. “India should trust the Maldives, which may be a small country, but is independent and patriotic,” he was quoted as saying.

Mohamed Shainee, Maldives minister 

Shainee, however, added that the Maldives will continue its ‘India first’ policy and remain a friend. “India, not China, is the big brother in the region. And we will continue our India-first policy.”

Not denying a “third party interest” in the issue, the minister cleared the air: “It is neither China nor India,” the report mentioned.

President Yameen declared an emergency on February 5 after the Supreme Court ordered the release of a group of Opposition leaders, who had been convicted in widely-criticised trials. Among them, was exiled ex-president Mohamed Nasheed. The court said his trial was unconstitutional, Outlook reported.

There has been an international condemnation of the Maldivian government’s moves, including the imposition of emergency.

India had earlier expressed its displeasure over the extension of emergency in the island nation. “India does not see a valid reason for the Maldivian parliament to do so (extend emergency),” the MEA had said while maintaining that it continues to watch over the situation.

India had expressed “deep dismay” over the Maldivian parliament accepting President Abdulla Yameen’s recommendation to extend the state of emergency by another 30 days in a manner New Delhi dubbed as a “matter of concern”.

“We do not see any valid reason for doing so. We, of course, continue to watch the situation and would continue to urge the government of Maldives to release political prisoners, release the chief justice, implement the Supreme Court order and restore the normal functions of the institutions of democracy,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

The declaration of emergency earlier this month in the archipelago, known for its turquoise waters and beaches, saw the nation plunging into a political crisis, reported Outlook.

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