India’s message: Stick to deadline

India is still pinning its hopes on Maldives concluding its election process in time.

Written by Pranab Dhal Samanta | Moscow/ Washington | Published:October 21, 2013 2:21 am

India is still pinning its hopes on Maldives concluding its election process in time to have new elected president in place by November 11 despite the polls not being held on October 19 as per the time frame laid out after the country’s Supreme Court ordered a re-vote.

The timeline is important because the Maldives Constitution requires that a new President be in place by November 11 and any delay beyond that is likely to invite international criticism,one that could even reverberate at the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meet in Sri Lanka as well as in other international groupings.

From an Indian standpoint,stability in Maldives is crucial and to that end,these elections are important as it would reaffirm the country’s commitment to democratic processes. As of now,political space appears to be polarised between those supporting Mohamed Nasheed and those against him.

New Delhi did make a push just before the PM left for Russia and China by rushing Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh to Maldives last Wednesday. She met President Mohammed Waheed,key presidential candidates as well as leaders of political parties the next day in a bid to impress upon them the need to conduct timely elections.

According to government sources,the message which was sent out was that the cut-off date was vital to the Maldives and it must not delay elections under some pretext or the other.

The explanation coming out of Male is that authorities were just waiting for the voter registration to be over and that they would still endeavour to adhere to a timeline leading up to a final announcement by November 11.

Government sources said the Foreign Secretary had returned with an impression that all stakeholders in the country recognised the way in which the economy and security of Maldives was intertwined with India and,thus,understood importance of addressing Indian concerns.

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