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India for free and fair polls in the Maldives: Salman Khurshid

PTI | Last Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 19:09

Singapore: India wants free and fair elections in the Maldives but will not interfere in the internal affairs of the country, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said here on Wednesday.

"We don`t want to play a big brother," he told some 300 business leaders at a seminar when he was asked why India was not reacting to the political impasse in the Maldives over the holding of polls to choose a new President.

Reiterating India`s stated position, he said it would be good for the world to see free and fair polls in the Maldives in November.

"It is a very difficult call for us. Our relationship is with the Maldives and not with a political party or a political individual in the Maldives," said Khurshid, who arrived in Singapore today for a two-day official visit.

India cherishes its relations with the Maldives and hopes the country will have a successful election in November to elect the people`s choice of leadership.

A key presidential revote in the Maldives was blocked by police on October 19, plunging the country into fresh political uncertainty. The country has been in turmoil since Mohamed Nasheed was removed as President last year.

Nasheed had led in the first round of balloting in September, the results of which were annulled by the Supreme Court after a candidate complained of electoral fraud.

The Maldives` Elections Commission announced on Monday that the first round of the presidential poll will be held on November 9 and second round on November 16.

While in Singapore, Khurshid will co-chair with Foreign Minister K Shanmugam the third Joint Ministerial Committee meeting tomorrow. The meet, held annually, reviews the state of bilateral ties and explores new areas of cooperation.

Khurshid will also call on President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen.

First Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 19:09

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