NEW DELHI: India on Wednesday expressed dismay over the extension of the state of emergency in Maldives. The statement from Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) comes a day after the Maldives Parliament approved to extend Emergency by 30 days.
"Deeply dismayed that the Government of Maldives has extended the State of Emergency for a further 30 days. The manner in which the extension of the State of Emergency was approved by the Majlis in contravention of the Constitution of Maldives is also a matter of concern," said the External Affairs Ministry.
The development comes shortly after India issued a statement saying that it expects that the Maldives government will not extend the state of emergency. The statement also underlined the difference in New Delhi's view with Yameen, who moved on Monday to have the emergency extended by 15 days.
"The consequent delay in the resumption of the political process and the continuing suspension of the functioning of democratic institutions including the judiciary is likely to further delay restoration of normalcy in Maldives", added MEA.
The ongoing political crisis in Maldives has pressed New Delhi into a balancing act. It has had to repeatedly clarify that it does not intend to militarily intervene in the crisis, like it did in 1988.
India's possible role in bringing the crisis to a close has also been complicated by China's newfound toehold in the Maldives. Gayoom has taken Maldives into China's influence, having signed up to be a part of the 'maritime silk road' as part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative.
Massive protests had erupted in the island nation after President Gayoom refused to follow the Supreme Court's ruling to release the key political prisoners and reinstate the 12 MPs.
Earlier this month, the Maldivian Supreme Court had acquitted former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed, former Maldivian Vice President Ahmed Adeeb and ordered the reinstatement of the 12 other parliamentary members.
The Supreme Court had ruled that all politicians opposed to President Gayoom, including Nasheed, should be released. It had further said that their trials were "politically influenced". The high-profile prisoners also include self-exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed and former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb.
The government has so far refused to implement the order, saying it had concerns about releasing those who were convicted for "terrorism, graft, embezzlement and treason".
Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected leader, took office in 2008. He was ousted in a coup in February 2012. The country has seen political unrest since he was sentenced to 13 years in jail in 2015 on terrorism charges. He was given political asylum in the UK in 2016.