Maldives crisis deepens, India pushes for political deal (Roundup)February 10th, 2012 - 9:59 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi/Male, Feb 10 (IANS) With the crisis in the Maldives deepening as former president Mohamed Nasheed took to streets to protest his ouster, India Friday sent a special envoy to meet key political figures in the archipelago nation to push for a political deal on forming a broad-based national government of unity.
Ruling out military intervention, New Delhi has also stepped up diplomatic outreach and briefed the ambassadors of the P5 — the US, Britain, France, China and Russia — and Sri Lanka on its assessment of the unfolding crisis in the Maldives which it regards as “an internal political affair” of the Indian Ocean archipelago nation comprising around 1,200 scattered islands.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sent his special envoy M. Ganapathi, secretary (West), in the external affairs ministry, to the Maldives to assess the situation and help mediate a peaceful political settlement there.
“I have sent an envoy to Maldives to assess the situation,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told reporters in New Delhi, adding that it was his sincere hope that the matter can be resolved through a peaceful dialogue. “It will be our effort to use our influence in that direction,” he said.
Ganapathi reached the capital Male Friday afternoon and met Nasheed and his successor Mohammed Waheed Hassan. He impressed upon them to expedite the process of a broad-based coalition government that could restore peace and stability to the island nation, government sources said.
The new president is understood to have assured India that he would not indulge in a witch-hunt while dealing with Nasheed.
The Indian high commission in Male is also in constant situation with the rapidly evolving situation in the Maldives as Nasheed’s supporters took to the streets for the second consecutive day, demanding the restoration of democracy and calling for early elections.
Instability is bad for everyone, specially for a country that depends on tourism as a key driver of its economy, sources said. Maldives, known for its luxury island resorts, depends on 1 million tourists who come annually and bring in $1 billion, contributing over 60 percent of the country’s GDP.
In Male, Nasheed, surrounded by his supporters, also called for the immediate release of around 500 supporters arrested for allegedly burning down police stations and court houses during demonstrations on Wednesday, a day after he resigned amid a standoff between the executive and the judiciary and the police joining the protesters.
With a Maldivian court issuing arrest warrant for Nasheed, which the new government has not acted on, India has urged the new president to ensure that Nasheed is not arrested or harmed in any way. “Nasheed is safe. We have been assured that he will not be harmed,” said sources.
India has, however, ruled out any military intervention in the present situation which it sees as “primarily an internal affair of the Maldives”.
The sources pointed out that unlike in 1988, when the then Rajiv Gandhi government sent troops to the Maldives at the request of then president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom to prevent a coup externally induced by rogue elements from Sri Lanka, this time it’s an internal political affair and hence does not warrant military intervention.
Since Nasheed’s Feb 7 resignation, India has taken the position that the present crisis in the nation is an internal affair of the Maldives and should be resolved peacefully by the Maldivians themselves. Nasheed has claimed he was forced to resign “almost at gunpoint.” The new president has denied any coup attempt.
India is of the view that the change of guard in the Maldives was not a “coup” but part of a constitutional transition of power. Nasheed had never mentioned anything about a coup when he discussed the situation in the Maldives with the Indian High Commissioner in Male on Monday, the sources said.
On the fateful morning of Feb 7 an hour before Nasheed read out his resignation on national TV, Nasheed spoke to India’s high commissioner in Male and told him that he was quitting as the demonstrators had turned violent and he had a law and order problem on his hands. There was no mention of any use of force to make him resign at that point, government sources close to the developments in the Maldives said here.
With over 30,000 Indians reside in the Maldives, and New Delhi is ready with a contingency plan to evacuate them if the violence on the streets spins out of control. “We are the nearest neighbour of Maldives. If there is any contingency, we are ready to help,” said the sources. India’s assessment is that the situation is relatively calm now and there does not seem to be any urgency for any contingency plan.
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- India urges Maldives to resolve issues democratically - Feb 11, 2012
- Nasheed disappointed with India, says Maldives ex-foreign minister (Interview) - Feb 12, 2012
- Nasheed disappointed with India, says Maldives ex-foreign minister (Interview) (Lead) - Feb 12, 2012
- India urges Maldives to resolve issues peacefully (Lead) - Feb 11, 2012
- Indian diplomats leave for Maldives as crisis deepens - Feb 10, 2012
- India steps up diplomatic outreach to stabilise Maldives - Feb 10, 2012
- Mathai in Maldives for talks amid deepening crisis (Second Lead) - Feb 15, 2012
- 'Nasheed never sought India's help' - Feb 10, 2012
- India mediates in Maldivian political crisis (Lead) - Feb 07, 2012
- Maldives welcomes India's role, Waheed to visit New Delhi (Lead) - Apr 03, 2012
- Amid flux, India to get Maldives situation update (Lead) - Apr 02, 2012
- Mathai leaves for Maldives - Feb 15, 2012
- India brokers deal, Maldives parties agree for early polls (Lead) - Feb 17, 2012
Tags: archipelago nation, coalition government, external affairs ministry, ganapathi, indian high commission, island nation, manmohan, manmohan singh, nasheed, nation government, peace and stability, peaceful dialogue, political affair, political settlement, president mohamed, prime minister manmohan, prime minister manmohan singh, secretary west, waheed, witch hunt