India and US are key players to restore normalcy and democracy in Maldives, says Opp leader Naseem

Washington: It is time the US and India play a key role to restore normalcy and democracy in Maldives which is under a state of emergency, a top opposition leader from the troubled island nation has said.

President Abdulla Yameen had imposed emergency which was extended by another 30 days last month by parliament, citing an ongoing national security threat and a constitutional crisis.

Several countries including the US and India along with the UN have urged the Yameen government to lift the emergency and restore normalcy.

Ahmed Naseem, former foreign affairs minister of Maldives and a leading opposition leader, has said that he is hoping that the international community led by the US and India would come to the rescue of Maldives given the gravity of the situation and the threat that it poses to the free flow of global commerce though this strategic sea trade route.

Naseem is in Washington for the past couple of days meeting top US officials and members of the UN Security Council. He is also seeking a discussion on the current situation in Maldives by the 15-member powerful wing of the United Nations.

The United States and India are the two key players and it is time that these two countries restore normalcy and democracy in Maldives, Naseem said.

“Obviously, the United States is deeply concerned about what’s happening in Maldives and they don’t like to see this undemocratic behaviour anywhere in the world. Besides, they will evaluate the repercussions of what is happening in light of the security of the Indian Ocean region,” Naseem told PTI in an interview on Sunday.

Describing his meetings with US officials as productive, Naseem hoped that necessary steps would be taken by the US to “rectify the situation”.

“If Maldives do not behave responsibly, I think it’s detrimental to the region’s security. They (the US) would be taking appropriate measures to rectify what is going on in Maldives. Unless it is checked, we might actually have a very difficult situation,” he said, warning that there is a spurt in fundamentalism in Maldives which needs to be stopped.

The crackdown on people of Maldives continues, he said.

Naseem said that the military should go back to its barracks and Parliament should be allowed to function as per the Constitution of Maldives.

“The Supreme Court verdict of February 1 should be implemented. The Supreme Court bench should be reinstated. You can’t have the chief justice of a country in jail and treat him very badly.

The emergency has to be lifted and people’s rights restored.

“India should see that these things are implemented in Maldives at the earliest. That is all we need (from India), then we will take care of the rest. But it all depends how far India will go to push the Maldivian government on that,” Naseem said.

India “has the tools” to correct the things in Maldives but “India needs to see the consequences if they do not do this. I am sure they’re contemplating very strongly, they are working very hard to find a way out of it. We need India to be able to talk to the government as well,” he said, observing that India has the leverage in Maldives.

The opposition parties will extend all its cooperation to the Indian government in its endeavour, Naseem said.