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Maldives crisis: India looks at sanctions, not boots on ground

Maldives crisis: Reacting to the deepening crisis, India said it was “disturbed” by the “state of emergency” imposed by President Abdulla Yameen. However, official sources told The Indian Express that while the government is mapping out its next steps, sending Indian troops to the island nation is not an option.

Written by Nirupama Subramanian , Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Updated: February 7, 2018 9:35 am
Maldives crisis: India looks at sanctions, not boots on ground Maldives crisis: Maldivian police officers detain an opposition protestor demanding the release of political prisoners during a protest in Male, Maldives, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Mohamed Sharuhaan)

Reacting strongly to the deepening crisis in Maldives, India on Tuesday said it was “disturbed” by the “state of emergency” imposed by President Abdulla Yameen and expressed “concern” over the arrests of Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

However, official sources told The Indian Express that while the government is mapping out its next steps, sending Indian troops to the island nation is not an option. On Tuesday, Sri Lanka-based Maldivian Democratic Party opposition leader and former president Mohamed Nasheed tweeted a “humble” request to India, “to send an envoy, backed by its military, to release judges and political detainees”. But sources said New Delhi is clear that this is “not going to happen”.

Read | Ex-President Nasheed seeks India’s help

“They want us to send warships and put boots on the ground, but we don’t want to be drawn into sending the military to sort out a political mess there,” sources said. Even just sending a special envoy was out of the question, sources said, as there was no guarantee that Yameen would engage with such a representative. Instead, they said, India is hoping to work together with a group of countries, including the US and Saudi Arabia, to bring pressure on the Yameen government through “sanctions”, if needed.

Maldives crisis Mohamed Nasheed turns to India for help after Abdulla Yameen imposes emergency Maldivian police stand guard on a main street. The US had earlier said it was “troubled” by Yameen’s declaration of emergency. (Reuters)

The travel advisories issued Monday by several countries, including India, are seen as part of this co-ordinated action. China, a Yameen ally, has also issued an advisory on travelling in the Maldives. The advisories will directly hit tourism, the mainstay of the Maldivian economy. Another “sanction” being considered is placing travel restrictions on members of the Yameen government. Several top Maldivian politicians travel abroad regularly, including to India, for medical treatment. Among the other options include squeezing aid to and trade with the nation.

Express Explained | In Yameen vs court in Maldives, a battle to control and subvert the Constitution

“The government has all the options on the table… but what needs to be kept in mind is that we do not want to hurt the people of Maldives. The measures, if any, have to be targeted at the government,” said sources. Officials said that US and European partners consulted India through Monday night and on Tuesday — in Colombo, Washington DC, London, Brussels — to understand the gravity of the situation.

The US had earlier said it was “troubled” by Yameen’s declaration of emergency. On Tuesday, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged the Yameen government to lift the state of Emergency and guarantee safety for its citizens, “including members of the judiciary”.

Opinion | Democracy is at stake in the Maldives, spectre of radical Islam looms large. India must act soon and firmly: Mohamed Nasheed

However, despite Nasheed having come out openly against Yameen, sources said India has not forgotten the former president’s courting of China during the Male SAARC summit, and does not want to be seen as putting all its weight behind the former president. Nasheed is still viewed in New Delhi as “immature” and “brash”, and, officials pointed out, his MDP has not reached out sufficiently to other opposition partners.

Last year, former presidents Nasheed and Gayoom — who heads a faction of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives against his half-brother Yameen — and opposition leaders Jumhooree Party’s Gasim Ibrahim and Adalath Party’s Sheik Imran announced a historic coming together to work for the restoration of democracy in Maldives.

But Maldivian news outlets have reported that all is not well in the opposition camp, with an impasse over Nasheed’s idea of a joint opposition candidate in the presidential election. Some government officials are of the view that at this point, a gesture from Nasheed could strengthen opposition unity in the push against Yameen. Gasim, a wealthy businessman, is seen as having taken enormous risks by opposing Yameen, and paid for it with his enterprises getting targeted. Government sources said Nasheed could find a running mate from Gasim’s party.

Maldives crisis Mohamed Nasheed turns to India for help after Abdulla Yameen imposes emergency Maldives defence soldiers patrol on the main street of Male, Maldives. The Maldives government has declared a 15-day state of emergency as the political crisis deepens in the Indian Ocean nation amid an increasingly bitter standoff between the president and the Supreme Court. (AP Photo)

Indian officials said Yameen’s strategy would be to chip away at the combined opposition, especially the faction of his party that has turned against him under Gayoom’s leadership. India is also waiting to see how Yameen deals with the Parliamentary ratification required for Emergency. The country’s Constitution states that the decision to impose Emergency has to be submitted to the Parliament, or Majlis, within 48 hours of it coming into force — if the House is not in session, it has to be convened within 14 days. The Majlis is in limbo after Yameen put off a scheduled session that was to begin on February 5.

Meanwhile, in its statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said, “We are disturbed by the declaration of a state of emergency in Maldives, following the refusal of the government to abide by the unanimous ruling of the full bench of the Supreme Court on February 1, and also by the suspension of constitutional rights of the people of Maldives. The arrest of the Supreme Court Chief Justice and political figures are also reasons for concern.”

Maldives Chief Justice Saeed and another judge, Ali Hameed, were arrested hours after President Yameen declared a state of emergency Monday. Yameen accused judges of plotting to overthrow him and said the Emergency was imposed to investigate this plot. The Supreme Court had ordered Yameen to release nine political prisoners, who was sentenced to 13 years on terrorism charges; reinstated 12 opposition members, boosting their strength in Parliament; and asked the government to convene Parliament. On Tuesday, the remaining three judges of the apex court revoked the order “in light of the concerns raised by the President”.

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  1. S
    Sri
    Feb 7, 2018 at 7:33 pm
    India's claim of being a "net security provider in the IOR" has been challeneged and India lead by Modi has failed to backup its words with action. The entire bunch of low IQ morons in the Indian external affairs ministry need to be taken out and shot. India will not be taken seriously now or ever if this is how it handles Maldives. Did Modi and his morons really think that China won't step into the vaccuum if India sanctions maldives.
    (1)(1)
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    1. Radhakishan Gangu
      Feb 7, 2018 at 12:36 pm
      All religions teach the highest ethics and the importance of truth,kindness, love, affection and takes us towards humanity. We all try to live for a peaceful, happy life. Great personalities emerged from different religions not one. As per our Hindu sages, the family system should be strengthened. Sacredness is very important in every moment of our lives. Truly speaking truth, sacredness is not working out in this present era. Modern life is eating away all the fine characters of the people. It is the responsibility of everyone to go towards the path of sacredness emitting brightness. As a Vedic nation India should develop on this bright foundation. World should follow the highest ethics. Why quarrels among different faiths? Why to loot the true love, kindness, selflessness, values, cultures, traditions from people of any faith, which will make us devils/animals, not any more humans.
      (2)(1)
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      1. Michelle:: Vedic::human
        Feb 7, 2018 at 12:24 pm
        Hindu King VIKRAMADITYA found to be written on a golden dish hung outside the KAABA.Muhammad was said to be born in the full light of history but the earliest document about him came 150 years later, casting doubt his very birth, earlier versions of Koran have conflicting views on his birth, several sects of Islam also suggest different dates. As per history prophet Muhammad was illiterate and never when to school, Muhammad's father and uncle BIN HESHAM were priests in Kaaba temple, Long before Islam came in to existence, Kaaba, in Mecca in Saudi Arabia was a pilgrimage site. The word Kaaba came from the Tamil Language which originated around 1700BC. In Tamil Nadu Kabaalishwaran temple is Lord Shiva’s temple and Kabaali refers to Lord Shiva. The black stone at Kaaba is Shiva Lingam and Kaaba is a Hindu temple.,--------MAKHATAB--E-SULTANIA--SAYAR-UL-OKUL:::PAGE 315---------jai hind
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        1. Ricky Stewart
          Feb 7, 2018 at 3:27 pm
          RSS Terrorist spotted.
          (0)(0)
          Reply
          1. S
            Sri
            Feb 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm
            Some INC supporter pretending to be the opposition. Standard trick for those heinous losers who lead by head loser Rahul Gandhi. Nothing new. This is their entire social media strategy.
            (0)(0)
        2. Michelle:: Vedic::human
          Feb 7, 2018 at 12:22 pm
          Islam like fascism appeals to people with low self esteem and low intelligence, there is no such thing as moderate Muslim-Every moderate Muslim is a potential terrorist. We are demolishing Islam from its foundation. If any city in world is nuked I am 100 percent for nuking tens of cities in Islamic countries. I don’t see Muslims as innocent people. They are all guilty as sin. It's not necessary to be part of al Qaida to be guilty. If you are a Muslim and agree with Muhammad, that is enough evidence against you. Islam and Muslims are diseased, infected by deadly cult that threatens lives.humanity is destroyed. Like limb infected by flesh eating disease,threat to the rest of mankind. Muhammad was not prophet of God, but an instrument of Satan to divide mankind so we destroy each other. It's a demonic plot to end humanity.Muhammad lied. He brought hate.is disease. What does moderate Muslim mean anyway? Does it mean you are moderately diseased?-Ali Cina,-EX Muslim-FREEDOM-FAITH-Jai hind.
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          1. Michelle:: Vedic::human
            Feb 7, 2018 at 12:20 pm
            Sword Of Truth The Black Stone is the Shiv Emblem (also known as Sange Aswad which is a corrupted form of the Sanskrit word Sanghey Ashweta--meaning non-white stone) still survives in the Kaba as the central object of Islamic veneration. All other Vedic Idols could be found buried in the precincts or trampled underfoot in labyrinthine subterranean corridors if archaeological excavations are undertaken.The famous Black Stone is none other than the ShivLing of Makkeshwar alias Mecca. Lord Shiva is always shown with a crescent Moon on his head and every Shiva temple is supposed to have a sacred water spring representing the Ganges. The Crescent Moon pinnacle of the Kaba and the Zamzam spring (actually Zamza from Ganga) are irrefutable testaments to the Vedic origins of the Kaba,---Jai hind.
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