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Amid flux, India to get Maldives situation update

Delhi,Diplomacy, Mon, 02 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) With the political flux continuing in the Maldives, India is gearing up to hear two contrasting views on the situation in the the Indian Ocean island from Foreign Minister Abdul Samad Abdulla Tuesday and ousted president Mohamed Nasheed later this month.


Abdulla touched down here on his first visit abroad to intensify consultations with India on the evolving situation in his country. He is set to hold talks with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Tuesday, external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said here.


Issues relating to political stability and progress on talks on early elections are among key issues that will be discussed here, informed sources said.


In the wake of the Feb 7 dramatic transfer of power in the Maldives that saw the ouster of the first democratically elected government of Nasheed, India had sent Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai to the atoll nation twice to assess the situation and help mediate a political settlement among feuding political parties.


In early March, Mathai helped broker a deal which envisaged a broad consensus for early elections in a "quick time frame" and a growing recognition of India's role as a facilitator in resolving the political crisis in the Indian Ocean island nation.


However, there has been no tangible progress on early elections in the Maldives since then.


In his talks, Krishna is expected to press his Maldivian counterpart to stick to the roadmap which was unveiled by President Mohammed Waheed Hassan and endorsed by key political parties.


Nasheed, who had to resign amid a mutiny by sections of the police Feb 7, is expected to come here around middle of the month.


"I will go to India in the middle of next month and plan to meet as many political leaders as possible, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh," Nasheed said in the US last week, adding that he hoped that India will "come around" and support his efforts in restoring democracy in the Maldives.


In an interview to a US talk show last week, Nasheed had voiced disappointments with the governments of India and the US for being in haste to recognize the new president Waheed whom he had accused of seizing power in a coup.


"I would like to ask the people of India to be with us and to not let go (of their support for us). They should not let dictatorship return to Maldives. We have to have early elections. We can come back on track again. We definitely need the support of India," he said.


India is concerned about the drift in the Maldives amid reports about right-wing Islamist forces trying to strengthen their stranglehold in the island nation.


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