Amid the ongoing crisis in the Maldives, exiled former President of the country Mohamed Nasheed met Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and briefed her on the situation in the archipelago. The former President is in India to attend a private function.
Nasheed tweeted a picture of his meeting with Sitharaman and wrote: “Pleasure to meet and brief Indian Minister of Defence H.E @nsitharaman on the situation in the Maldives.’’
The Maldives plunged into a major political crisis soon after the island nation’s Supreme Court ordered the release of nine political prisoners, including former President Nasheed, saying their trials were “politically motivated and flawed”. It also overturned a previous ruling that disqualified 12 Members of Parliament after defection, giving the opposition a majority in Majlis (Parliament).
President Abdulla Yameen refused to comply with the judgement. He declared a state of emergency, ordered the arrest of the chief justice, another judge and former President MA Gayoom.
Paying ‘lip service’ to Maldives ‘India First’ policy, Yameen has tightened his country’s embrace with China ever since he came to power. China has invested in multiple infrastructure projects and also signed a free trade agreement with the Maldives. Yameen has shown scant regard for New Delhi’s concerns in the face of increasing Chinese influence in the island nation.