Maldives crisis: India in touch with U.S., China

Trump, Modi talk over phone, decide to work together

February 09, 2018 08:08 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 10:42 pm IST - NEW DELHI

With the emergency in the Maldives still in place and worries about a constitutional crisis, New Delhi is in touch with both Washington and Beijing over the situation, officials confirmed on Friday.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke on the telephone to discuss the upcoming 2+2 ministerial level meeting in Delhi, when the situation in the Maldives was discussed, the White House said.

“Both leaders expressed concern about the political crisis in Maldives and the importance of respect for democratic institutions and rule of law,” a readout from President Trump’s office said on Friday, adding that they had also discussed “working together to enhance security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region”.

According to the readout, Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi also spoke of the situation in Myanmar and addressing the “plight of Rohingya refugees” and of steps towards the “denuclearisation of North Korea.”

Call to democracy  

No comment from MEA

The Ministry of External Affairs made no comment about the conversation, and the nature of cooperation India and the U.S. would undertake on the Maldives.

However, both New Delhi and Washington have issued statements over the past week, criticising President Abdulla Yameen’s declaration of an emergency until February 20, and the arrest of Supreme Court judges and senior leaders.

However the MEA also cautioned the Maldives against any plan to bring in Chinese naval or security reinforcements to Male. "We note that China has said that Maldives Government has the ability to protect the security of Chinese personnel and institutions in Maldives. We hope that all countries can play a constructive role in Maldives, instead of doing the opposite, " the MEA spokesperson said.

In Beijing, foreign ministry officials also confirmed that China was “in touch with India” as well as the U.S. and other relevant parties on the issue.

China was one of three countries, including Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, that President Yameen has sent special envoys to discuss his reasons for his actions since February 1.

India rejected the envoy’s visit, asking the Maldives to “address the concerns of the international community” on the situation in Male.

Maldives Ambassador Ahmed Mohamed, who returned to Delhi on Friday expressed regret over India’s decision, and is expected to hold talks with the government in Delhi over the next few days in an attempt to smooth matters over after India’s snub and sharp statement.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said President Yameen’s envoy, Foreign Minister Mohammad Asim, had meetings with Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in Islamabad. “As a matter of policy, we don’t comment on the internal matters of other country. Pakistan firmly believes that the rule of democracy and Constitution must be upheld and allowed to take its course,” the Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Friday.

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