The Indian stand on the Maldives — allow the internal process to sort out the issues that has thrown up by the transfer of power from the former President, Mohamed Nasheed, to the new President Waheed Hassan Manik, and secondly, agree on an election date — has found wide acceptance among countries that have a strong interest in the Maldives.

The United States is fully behind the Indian line, a senior diplomat said. Sri Lanka, which issued a statement similar to that India put out after Dr. Waheed took over, has agreed that the internal process should be allowed to continue. In fact, Sri Lanka and India have been on the same page from February 7, the day Mr. Nasheed resigned from his post. Senior officials here described the line taken by India and Sri Lanka as one that only close allies can take on such an important regional issue.

Reports from the Maldivian capital Male suggest that Bangladesh too has arrived at the same conclusion. Bangladesh has about 80,000 workers in the Maldives, compared to 30,000 from India and about 10,000 from Sri Lanka. The three south Asian countries provide the bulk of the labour force for the Maldives, especially to keep its resorts up and running.

Interactions that the Commonwealth and some members of the European Union, barring the Great Britain, have had with the Maldivian government and with the Indian High Commission in Male, suggest a remarkable convergence of views. While the main job of the Commonwealth Ministerial delegation was to assess the circumstances of the transfer of power, they were also briefed on the current ground situation.

Britain had issued a travel advisory, and has been seen as supporting Mr. Nasheed, though British diplomats stationed in Colombo, have dismissed this contention. The Commonwealth delegation has since left, and said that it would submit its report soon to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group.

Deadline passes

The deadline set by Dr. Waheed for the Maldivian Democratic Party (to which Mr. Nasheed belongs) to join the government went by, with the MDP setting out preconditions to join the government. According to Minivan news , a Maldivian news website, the conditions included removing some Ministers, which MDP claims, were behind the coup. This demand will not find favour with Dr. Waheed.

But a government source said that the MDP would join the discussions to decide on the date for election. Pre-talk meetings were on to decide where the discussions could begin.