Maldives clarifies India not omitted from special envoy's itinerary

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Maldives clarifies India not omitted from special envoy's itinerary

Maldives has clarified that India was not ignored by the Yameen government as it sent special envoys to China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Reacting to reports that the Abdulla Yameen government skipped India while choosing to brief "friendly nations" on the current situation of Maldives, its envoy to New Delhi today refuted the "news items".

Maldivian envoy Ahmed Mohamed said, "India was in fact the first stop planned and proposed for a visit of a special envoy of the president of Maldives. However, the dates proposed were not suitable for the Indian leadership."

His comments came in the backdrop of Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen sending special envoys to China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to brief them about the deepening political crisis in the country.

"We understand the external affairs minister is out of country and the prime minister is leaving for UAE during the week," he added.

The Maldivian embassy separately issued a clarification on its website saying, "A section of the Indian media has brought out news items stating that Special envoy of the President of the Republic of the Maldives has bypassed India. This is far from truth."

"Foreign Minister of Maldives Dr Mohamed Asim the designated Special envoy of the President was scheduled to be in India on 8th February 2018 but the visit was cancelled on the request of the Government of India," it stated.

President Yameen has sent Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed to China and Foreign Minister Mohamed Asim to Pakistan in the wake of the crisis. Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Mohamed Shainee is going to Saudi Arabia.

The island nation, which has seen several political crises since the ouster of its first democratically-elected president Mohamed Nasheed in 2012, plunged into chaos last Thursday when the apex court ordered the release of nine imprisoned opposition politicians, maintaining that their trials were "politically motivated and flawed".

India, which is monitoring the situation very "closely", said on Tuesday that it was "disturbed" about the declaration of emergency by the Maldivian government and described as a matter of "concern" the arrests of the chief justice and political figures there.

(With PTI inputs)