Expressing its disappointment over the Maldives government’s decision to extend a state of Emergency for another month despite India’s strenuous objections, New Delhi issued another statement on Wednesday, calling the move unconstitutional, words that could lead to a face-off with the Yameen government.
“We are deeply dismayed that the government of Maldives has extended the State of Emergency for a further 30 days. The manner in which the extension of the State of Emergency was approved by the Majlis in contravention of the Constitution of Maldives is also a matter of concern,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement, referring to the passage of the emergency extension resolution in Parliament on Tuesday, despite there not being the requisite quorum of 43 members.
The Maldivian Ambassador to India, Mohamed Ahmed, denied the accusation that the move was unconstitutional. “Their [MEA’s] interpretation is incorrect,” Mr. Ahmed told The Hindu, adding, “In this case, the President [Yameen] declared a State of Emergency, Parliament extended it. And to check whether there are any issues with the extension of Emergency, it has been referred to the Supreme Court.” Later on Wednesday, the Supreme Court reportedly cleared the validity of the Emergency extension as well.
Asked if the decision had meant that ties between India and the Maldives had broken down, Mr. Ahmed said, “channels of communication” remained open and Indian Ambassador to Male Akhilesh Mishra met with Maldivian Foreign Secretary Ahmed Sareer on Wednesday. A statement from the Maldivian Foreign Ministry said the two officials had “discussed the ongoing political developments and reiterated the government of Maldives’s firm commitment to work with international partners, including India.” The MEA declined to comment on the meeting.
Series of statements
India has issued a series of statements of concern over the Maldives Emergency declared by President Yameen on February 5, after the Maldivian Supreme Court overturned the imprisonment of nine political rivals, including former President Mohamed Nasheed. Since then, the Yameen government has put more leaders in prison and arrested the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and other judges. India rejected an offer by President Yameen to send an envoy to explain the circumstances, saying that democracy must be restored first. In a significant move, the government allowed Mr. Nasheed to travel to India for a conference organised by The Hindu last week, where he called for India to compel Mr. Yameen to reverse the Emergency.
“It is important that Maldives quickly returns to the path of democracy and the rule of law so that the aspirations of Maldivian people are met and the concerns of the international community are assuaged,” the MEA added in its latest statement.
However, India is yet to spell out what the consequences of not heeding its word will be to the government in Male.
Meanwhile, in Washington, the U.S. State department also issued a statement of concern, while the European Union is expected to hold a meeting of senior Ministers on Monday to discuss the situation in the Maldives.
In response, the Yameen government said it acknowledged the concerns and “assured the international community that the decision was taken as a last resort, after serious and exhaustive consideration” and that “the State of Emergency will be lifted as soon as the threats posed to national security are addressed satisfactorily.”
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Source URL: The Hindu