Miffed with the Indian government’s open statements against the national emergency declared in the Maldives, the island nation has declined Indian Navy’s invitation to attend ‘Milan’, an eight-day multilateral naval exercise. Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, while informing about the development, on Tuesday (February 27), said that as many as 16 countries will participate in the biennial naval exercise from March 6 to 13 to be held at the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. However, the Maldives would not be a part of the event. Brushing aside India’s invitation, the Maldives government had said in a statement that the Government of India was ignoring the facts and ground realities associated with the ongoing political developments in the Maldives. The release further added that India’s judgement that the extension of Emergency in the Maldives is unconstitutional is ignorance of the ‘Law of the Maldives’.
The nation, witnessing an ongoing political crisis, has neglected India’s advice to release the Chief Justice, a Supreme Court judge, and political prisoners saying that New Delhi’s public statements were a “clear distortion of facts.” The bilateral relations between the two nations turned even grimmer with China asking India to respect Maldives’ sovereignty. China has asked India to not interfere in a sovereign country’s internal matter.
Recently, there were reports of Chinese warships entering the East Indian Ocean. However, Lanba scrapped such developments saying the Chinese pattern of deployment has remained same since many years and hasn’t changed. As per media reports, China is fast enhancing its influence over the island nation. On the other hand, the Maldivian opposition leaders have urged New Delhi to intervene in the crisis.
Earlier, India had expressed its disappointment over the current state of affairs in the Maldives with MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar clarifying that India desires to see fully restored democracy in the Maldives. Notably, the emergency that was declared for a period of 15 days was extended to another 30 days in the Maldives by incumbent President Abdulla Yameen.