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Waiting to see how situation plays out in Maldives: India

Moscow, Oct 20, 2013, (IANS) : 20:19 IST
India said Sunday it will wait to see how the situation plays out in the Maldives, where the election commission cancelled the fresh presidential poll set for Saturday, and clarified that it has never set any red lines for it to complete the election process.

"We have never set any red lines on Maldives.. All that we have been doing is to tell the people, the government there that India attaches great importance to countries in its immediate neighbourhood, to peace and stability in its neighbourhood," said an informed source to a question on the Maldives situation which India has been watching closely.

"There is a democratic process in Maldives that is ongoing, it is for the people of Maldives themselves and it will be done by the people of Maldives themselves."

"Now they have set new dates, so let’s see how what happens, let’s see how it plays out. No point in jumping to hasty conclusions. They have to decide for themselves,” the source added.

India had Saturday expressed its serious concern and deep disappointment over the withholding of the first round of repeat presidential election in Maldives.

The Sep 7 first round of election, which was later annulled by the country’s apex court, had witnessed 88 percent voting and was considered free and fair by the large contingent of foreign observers.

India had also said that it wants to see the democratic process completed and a new president sworn in by Nov 11, the date set by the Maldivian constitution.

The source said that the Nov 11 date for the new president is “not sacrosanct to India but it is to Maldives, according to their constitution”.

“There is a long way to Nov 11, let’s arrive at Nov 11 and see what happens,” the source added.

Former president Mohammed Nasheed had emerged victorious in the first round with over 45 percent votes, but less that the 50 percent required to prevent a run-off.
The run-off was cancelled on a plea by businessman Gasim Ibrahim, who is also contesting.

Abdulla Yameen, the brother of long-time Maldivian ruler Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, had come second with 25 percent votes while Ibrahim had come third with 24 percent. The run off allows only two parties with the highest votes to compete.

Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh had rushed to Maldives earlier this week to meet Nasheed, former president Gayoom and the current president Mohammed Waheed and other top leaders.

The source said that India’s main interest in Maldives “is that it is in our immediate neighbourhood".

"And they understand this very well, they understand that our economies and security interests are closely intertwined and that we would not like to see any instability in our immediate neighbourhood, this is something that is understood very well and everybody is united on that."

“The political parties have realised they have to get on with the process and it is not a good idea to have a constitutional void.

“They have understood the fact and we have left it to them and their institutions,” the source said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in the Russian capital for a bilateral summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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