New Delhi: India is taking up with Maldives the cases of denial of work visas to Indians, official sources said on Wednesday. There were reports that hundreds of Indians have been denied work visas by Maldives and several employers in the island nation have informed applicants that work visas for Indians were not being issued at present.
The sources told PTI that India was also engaged in talks with Maldives over the issue of stationing of two naval helicopters in that country. India had gifted two "Dhruv" advanced light helicopters to Maldives and 'Letters of Exchange' (LoE) for both the choppers have expired.
The Maldivian government has indicated to India that it was not keen on renewing the LoE. One chopper is operated by the Coast Guard and the other is operated by the Indian Navy.
The LoE for advanced light helicopter at Addu had expired a few months ago, while the validity of LoE for the one stationed at Laamu atoll lapsed on June 30, military sources said.
Maldives has also not renewed the visas of the Indian military personnel stationed with the choppers.
On the visa issue, the official sources said there have been more than 100 complaints and there are also handouts saying that Indians should not apply.
"We are doing whatever is necessary to persuade them, to explain to them, to work with them, that those visas are issued. The denial of visa cannot be countered by any forceful intervention.
"What can be done, we are doing. We are also working with other countries to suggest that it will affect tourism arrivals into Maldives," one of the sources said.
The source said the Maldivian side has responded by saying that they have issued several visas in the last two or three months, "but the facts are different".
At the end of the day, it is still the sovereign right of any government to decide who will or will not stay in the country, the source said.
The source said India was hoping that international pressure will pursue President Abdulla Yameen to open a dialogue with the opposition and it was "keeping the situation under observation".
The security of Indian nationals or any other very vital security has not been affected to a point where the government of India feels that its national security is under threat, the source said.
India has made its position clear that what is happening in the Maldives is of disquiet to it as a SAARC country and as a neighbour, the source said.
The political process should be resumed and the intimidation of the judiciary and the media should be stopped, the source said, adding that people-to-people contacts should not be hampered.
The source also said reports about India reducing the exports of essential goods to Maldives was not correct.
"It is clear that if they (Maldives) want to lift more (essential commodities) they are welcome to lift more, and the government of India will facilitate it," the source said.
India's ties with Maldives nosedived after it criticised the Yameen government for imposing a 45-day emergency in the archipelago nation earlier this year.
During the crisis, India had ignored calls for military intervention from the opposition parties in the island nation.
Meanwhile, the source said the first general assembly of the International Solar Alliance was expected to be held in the last quarter of this year before the climate meet COP 24.