India dispatches foreign secretary to Maldives to urge political compromise

Mohamed Visham, Haveeru Online
Feb 16, 2012 - 09:24 3 comments
  • Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai: Mathai arrived in the Maldives yesterday evening to defuse the crisis in the country that has refused to die down. PHOTO/ TOP NEW LAW

The Times of India has reported that India has dispatched foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai amid concerns that New Delhi may have rushed their position on the crisis in the Maldives, with instructions to defuse the instability in the country that refuses to die down.

The Indian High Commission in Male’ has confirmed Mathai’s arrival yesterday evening and held discussions with President Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, his predecessor Mohamed Nasheed and political leaders of the country, and is also scheduled to host a press conference this afternoon pertaining to the visit.

Mathai's visit comes ahead of a huge rally by former President Mohamed Nasheed slated for tomorrow in Male, which is believed to be aimed at an international audience.

The rally will coincide with a visit by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), which is coming in to assess the controversial transition of power from Nasheed to his successor.

The Indian newspaper also reported that Mathai's brief is to have a discussion with Nasheed prior to the rally, to convey India’s stand and work out a way forward that restores stability in the nation.

India's high level presence came after Nasheed made claims that the political crisis in the Maldives had a larger dimension, including a possible geopolitical competition with China to gain a foothold amid the continuing political standoff.

Mathai's visit comes after Ganapathi, secretary (west) of the External Affairs Ministry, made a visit last week to fashion a compromise between the new government of Waheed and Nasheed, who has publicly denounced the new government claiming that he had been ousted in a coup and pressed for snap elections.

During the Ganapathi visit, the Indian government announced recognition of Waheed’s government and most countries including the US has followed suit.

The Times of India also quoted diplomatic sources, stating that India continued to be good friends with both Nasheed and the new regime. "Our policy is not party-centric or people-centric. We continue to remain friends with both. We have been engaging with both sides," a source said.

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