Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Amid political crisis, Indian, British journalists detained in Maldives

Amid political crisis, Indian, British journalists detained in Maldives

Former Maldivian president and opposition leader tweeted on Tuesday that India should send a special envoy backed by its military to release judges and political leaders who have been imprisoned by President. Western governments, as well as neighboring India and China, have asked their citizens not to vacation in the Maldives, a nation of 1,192 tiny coral islands scattered 800 kilometers (550 miles) across the equator.

China continues to maintain there should not be any external interference, the officials said.

China doesn't want Maldives to become another "flash point", the sources told PTI here today.

Beijing has called for its partnership with the Maldives, where it has channelled significant aid and investment, to develop "in a healthy manner" as it vies with India for influence over the troubled Indian Ocean archipelago.

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While Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to embark on a three-nation tour of the Middle-east, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj is already in Saudi Arabia for crucial bilateral talks.

The archipelago in the Indian Ocean is of enormous strategic importance to India and China, the world's two most populous countries dependent on energy imports.Experts say the Maldivian crisis could well become a new power struggle between India and China.

The Maldives crisis was sparked by President Abdulla Yameen's decision to arrest judges who had ordered the release of his political opponents.

This statement came after the reports that said President Yameen, amidst the political tension in the country, sent his "special envoys" to "friendly countries" China, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, but not to India, apparently in an attempt to discuss the ongoing emergency in his country.

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Asserting that the U.S. stands with the people of Maldives, the State Department spokesperson said Yameen, the army and police should respect the Maldives' worldwide human rights obligations and commitments.

In a statement published in the February 7 Indian Express, Nasheed pledged his fidelity to the strategic interests of India and the U.S., denouncing Chinese investment in the Maldives and the OBOR as a threat to "the security of the entire Indian Ocean region".

The Maldives Police said they were arrested on charges of working in Maldives against the Maldives Immigration Act and Regulations.

The Maldives may have a stated "India First" policy but New Delhi was not among the first capitals that President Abdulla Yameen reached out to after declaring emergency in the atoll nation on Monday. "For those who choose to remain, we are asking that they monitor the local and global media reports, take extra precautions and avoid crowded gatherings and protests".

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"China offers its assistance to the Maldives with no political strings attached". "The current situation in Maldives is its internal affairs", said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang on Wednesday.

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