India closely following Maldives situation: MEA

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New Delhi, July 5 (IANS) India on Thursday said it is closely following the evolving situation in the Maldives and it is a matter of concern that institutions like its parliament and the judiciary are not allowed to function properly.

“We have been closely following the evolving situation in the Maldives. The announcement of elections in the Maldives at a time when the democratic institutions including the Majlis and the judiciary are not allowed to function in a free and transparent manner is indeed a matter of concern,” said External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.

“We have urged the government of Maldives to return to the path of democracy and ensure credible restoration of the political process and the rule of law, before the elections are conducted,” he added.

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Kumar said it was important that a conducive atmosphere was created for holding free and fair elections in the Maldives.

Elections are due in Maldives in November this year. However, with a number of prominent opposition figures of the country put behind bars, former President Mohamed Nasheed living in exile and defunct parliament and crippled judiciary, there is a big question mark over free and fair elections.

The latest crisis in Maldives began in February this year when President Yameen Abdul Gayoom of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) declared a state of Emergency.

Security forces stormed the Supreme Court and arrested two of its five sitting judges, sealed parliament house and detained prominent opposition leaders.

India is concerned with political instability in Maldives, which is just around 1,200 km away from the Indian mainland, for a variety of reasons. The archipelago nation, home to around 22,000 Indians, is of strategic importance to India and its growing proximity with China is a cause of concern for India.

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–IANS

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