Nasheed leaves embassy after ‘deal’

R.K. Radhakrishnan
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Nasheed emerges out of Indian High Commission to warm welcome by party cadre

Former Maldives’ President Mohamed Nasheed waves to his party supporters after stepping out of the Indian High Commission in Male, on Saturday.Photo: AP
Former Maldives’ President Mohamed Nasheed waves to his party supporters after stepping out of the Indian High Commission in Male, on Saturday.Photo: AP

Thanks to India’s intervention, the crisis in Maldives has blown over with the former President, Mohamed Nasheed, emerging out of the Indian High Commission in Male on Friday. Fearing arrest, he had sought refuge at the High Commission office on February 13.

The former President came out of his temporary home, the office of the first secretary at the High Commission, at 4.15 p.m., and walked on to the streets to a wild welcome by his party men. Though details of the ‘deal’ are yet to be announced, the Maldivian Democratic Party cadre did not seem to care. For them, their ‘ Anni ’ had come out a bigger leader from the crisis; the Maldivian government led by Mohamed Waheed Hasan had suffered a setback, and that from now they would work harder till the September presidential elections.

“The former President had entered the Indian Mission in Male on February 13 on his own and had similarly decided to leave on his own.  It is hoped that with this development the former President will resume his social and political life,” said a statement by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

“India has maintained broad-based contacts with all political parties and democratic institutions in the Maldives without interfering in its internal affairs.  The Government of India urges all parties to maintain peace and calm and hopes to continue its positive engagement in the spirit of the close and friendly relations between the two countries,” it added.

Mr. Nasheed had entered Athireege-aage (new house of Athireege), the heritage building in which the Indian High Commission is located in Male, fearing arrest over his non-appearance in a local court. The case related to his having “abducted” a judge when he was President. He stayed put at the High Commission, and the court issued at least three warrants to arrest him. The Maldivian government insisted that it would not interfere with a court process. As the stand-off continued, India flew down to Male a team led by MEA Joint Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla to negotiate a way out. An official in the know of things told The Hindu that it required a lot of patience, synchronisation of efforts of multiple actors, and working with a few select interlocutors to pull off the deal. During the period, External Affairs Minister Salman Kurshid spoke to his Maldivian counterpart thrice. India had converted the crisis created by Mr. Nasheed walking into the High Commission into an opportunity, the official added. India, the MEA, and the Indian Mission in Male were criticised for their handling of the events, but the team decided not to engage public opinion for the moment.

They had a job on hand, and the team had the confidence of the highest authorities in India. Some of the decisions were made on the spot in Male, and later conveyed to New Delhi, when a sequence of events was drawn up and sent. New Delhi had complete faith in the team, and none of its initiatives came in for criticism.Mr. Nasheed thanked India for the support it had extended to him.

  • India hopes Nasheed will resume his social and political life

  • Maldivian Democratic Party cadre on cloud nine

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