India has rubbished former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed’s statement on Twitter where he sought to suggest that he had briefed India’s Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on the situation prevailing in the country. Nasheed, who had sought India’s intervention in wake of the Emergency imposed by Abdulla Yameen government on February 5, received a royal snub from the Ministry of Defence on Tuesday. According to The Indian Express, top sources at the ministry said that former Maldivian president Nasheed had not discussed the Emergency situation in his country with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during their meet. Both the leaders met in Bengaluru last Sunday.
Nasheed, who lives in exile in Colombo, tweeted a picture of him seated across Nirmala Sitharaman and captioned it to suggest that he had briefed India’s Defence minister of the situation in his country.
Responding to Nasheed’s claims, sources in New Delhi told The Indian Express that the meeting that Nasheed referred to was an unscheduled meeting in Bengaluru on the sidelines of a function organised by a media house headquartered in Chennai. The ministry also clarified that there was no discussion on the situation in the Maldives.
The sources further informed that the former President approached Sitharaman when she and other dignitaries of the media were having a cup of tea. Nasheed, being an invitee, exchanged pleasantries with the Defence minister, following which Sitharaman left for the airport to return to New Delhi. The ministry sources said that the social media post was totally uncalled for as the Defence Minister did not indulge in any discussion on Maldives with the former Maldivian leader.
In a statement released on February 20, the Ministry of External Affairs said that it expects the Government of Maldives to withdraw the State of Emergency and not seek extension. MEA also said that it expected the government to return to normal state. However, approving President Abdulla Yameen’s recommendation, Parliament of Maldives extended the state of emergency by another 30 days. Despite 43 lawmakers being needed for the vote to take place as required by the constitution, only 38 MPs were present for the vote that took place hours before the state of emergency was due to expire. Surprisingly, all the 38 MPs were from the Progressive Party of Maldives.