India concerned over instability in Maldives

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 20:32

New Delhi: India on Wednesday expressed concern over the "ongoing political instability" in the Maldives and said it was in touch with authorities there after former president Mohamed Nasheed took refuge in the Indian high commission in Male.

Nasheed, a candidate in the Sep 7 presidential polls, took refuge in the mission Tuesday after a court issued an arrest order for failing to attend a hearing over the illegal detention of a judge.

Nasheed resigned last year as president after what he alleged was a coup.

India called upon the Maldives government and all political parties "to adhere strictly to democratic principles and the rule of law, thereby paving the way for free, fair, credible and inclusive elections.

"As a close and friendly neighbour, India has expressed concern over the ongoing political instability in (the) Maldives and called upon the government and all political parties to adhere strictly to democratic principles and the rule of law, thereby paving the way for free, fair, credible and inclusive elections," the external affairs ministry said.

The ministry said preventing participation in the elections "would call into question the integrity of the electoral process, thereby perpetuating the current political instability in (the) Maldives.

"This is not in the interest of (the) Maldives or the region.

"India would call upon the government and all political parties in Maldives to avoid any actions that would vitiate the political atmosphere in the Maldives", a ministry statement said.

"We are in touch with the relevant Maldivian authorities to resolve the situation," arising out of Nasheed seeking refuge in the Indian mission, it said.

The Sep 7 election would be the first after Nasheed was replaced by his vice president Mohamed Waheed Feb 7 last year.

Nasheed`s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has been demanding early presidential elections.

Nasheed, 45, entered the Indian high commission after the Hulhumale magistrate court issued an arrest order for him.

The court issued the warrant after Nasheed failed to attend a trial hearing Feb 10. He was on a visit to India after being granted permission by the court and arrived in Male Feb 11.

The MDP has described the trial as "politically motivated".

Nasheed earlier wanted the court to stop proceedings for the time being, saying there would be no time to complete the hearing ahead of the polls.

IANS



First Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 20:32

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