Diplomacy Politics

Maldives says no threat of foreign military invasion

There is no threat of a foreign military invasion, the Maldives said Tuesday, as it told people to stop doubting its “excellent” relationship with India.

Ties between the two countries were thrust into the spotlight when the Maldives signed its first-ever Free Trade Agreement with regional behemoth China, apparently catching India off-guard.

But they nosedived when former president Mohamed Nasheed asked New Delhi to send an envoy “backed by its military” after a state of emergency was declared in the Maldives.

“At no time has the government requested any foreign country for military intervention or assistance in the Maldives,” said the Ministry of Defence and National Security, “and there is no threat to Maldives being invaded by foreign military.”

The ministry said it was concerned by “irresponsible” calls for and encouragement of Indian military intervention and military action.

The government maintained good relations with India and “firmly believes that India would not act on any such calls.”

President Abdulla Yameen claims the Supreme Court is at the centre of what his supporters have called a “judicial coup” to overthrow the government. He said there was no way for him to investigate the attempted coup without declaring a state of emergency.

India has not directly responded to Nasheed’s request, although the media has weighed in on the subject and China says the international community must respect the Maldives’ sovereignty.

Last week Yameen dispatched special envoys to ‘friendly nations’ – China, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan – to provide updates on the state of emergency. India, which is geographically closer, was not on the list.

The embassy in New Delhi later denied India had been bypassed, saying there had been a scheduling issue.

The Maldives is the only South Asian neighbour that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has yet to visit since taking office in 2014. He dropped the Maldives from a 2015 tour of Indian Ocean countries with no explanation.

The cancellation came amid anti-government protests and heightened tension sparked by the arrest and prosecution of Nasheed on controversial terror charges.

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Source URL:  Maldives Independent

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