Taken by "surprise" over GMR issue, India has conveyed to Maldives that it will have serious consequences on the bilateral ties as it is considering a "series of options", including slowing down cooperative programmes, if legal course is not followed.
India acknowledges that the Maldivian government's decision to cancel GMR's contract for building Male airport is a domestic issue but it is upset over "anti-India sentiment being whipped up" in connection with the issue there.
Sources said the possibility of some external forces playing a role in the cancellation of the airport contract cannot be ruled out even though there was no clear evidence of Chinese angle so far.
India has conveyed to Maldives that the matter should be addressed legally.
However, if the Maldivian government chooses to "flout" the legal option and an anti-India atmosphere continues to be whipped up, it will have "serious consequences" for the bilateral relations, the sources said.
In this context, India is considering a "series of options", like slowing down the cooperative programme, they said, adding the impact could be felt on all aspects of the bilateral ties, including defence cooperation.
This comes against the backdrop of Maldivian government's refusal to accept Singapore court's stay on cancellation of the contract.
The cancellation of the contract came as a "suprise" to India, the sources said, adding the issue of any wrongdoing, as alleged, was never raised by Maldives during a series of contacts between leaders and officials of the two countries over last one year.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during his visit to Male in November last year, met two opposition leaders but this subject was never raised even though some "fringe parties" had been creating controversy over the issue, the sources said.
The controversy, which came to the fore during the tenure of former President Mohamed Nasheed, remained "dormant" ever since his ouster in February, they noted.
But the cancellation of the contract in the last week of November came as a surprise to India which sees the decision linked to President Mohd Waheed's growing ambitions to contest next year's Presidential polls after legitimacy was bestowed on his regime by a Commission of Inquiry.