We Don't Go Into Kashmir Issue, India Should Stay Away From Our Internal Matters: Maldives Govt

| March 14 , 2018 , 14:32 IST

Amidst the declared emergency in the Maldives and its on-going political crisis, the nation on Tuesday pointedly asked India to "stay away" from its "internal matter" similar to how the Maldives has not intervened in the Kashmir issue.

“Why haven't we gone into the Kashmir issue ... and asked to be (an) intermediary? Because they are internal matters ... India should stay away from our issue. We are independent and capable of dealing with the situation. If we need help, we will let India know,” said Minister of fisheries and agriculture Mohamed Shainee.

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Shainee added that the Maldivian government had kept the UN and the European Union updated on the status of the country's crisis.

“A third party is willing to negotiate on the issue,” the minister said, specifying, “It is neither China nor India,” without replying on whether it was an international body or another country.

Regarding China’s big brother role, Shainee said, “India, not China, is the big brother in the region. And we will continue our India-first policy.”

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The crisis in the Maldives, began in early February when the President Abdulla Yameen government refused to follow the directives of its Supreme Court in releasing 'political prisoners' namely lawmakers of the Opposition party. On February 5, Yameen declared 'emergency' in the country, arresting the Chief Justice and other Supreme Court judges.

In the aftermath of the emergency declaration, exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed on February 6 reached out to India for 'physical presence' and aid, as India had previously stepped in to help the nation in 1988 during the tenure of Rajiv Gandhi as prime minister.

The political turmoil in the Maldives has dealt a blow to the nation's tourism trade, affecting the livelihood of a large number of Maldivians.

However, the emergency once extended might be allowed to expire on March 22