India’s invitation to Maldives to be part of its joint naval exercise “Milan” that is being attended by several nations like New Zealand, Oman, Mauritius, Australia, Malaysia and Myanmar was declined by the nation’s ruling government. Though India and several other neighbors have asked the local government to roll back its emergency order, the same has also been ignored. The eight day naval exercise will have participants from 16 nations that will hold these exercises around Andaman and Nicobar Islands from March 6, 2018. This biennial event was first started in 1995 with navies from five nations getting together to maintain regional cooperation and control unlawful activities in the zone.
The latest gesture of Maldives in refusing the invitation from India shows the strain in relationship between both countries that till recently was on friendly terms but soured after India requested the Maldivian government to end its state emergency and restore democracy. The New Delhi government had earlier expressed its willingness to give military assistance to the Maldives government to restore peace but the latter called the gesture as “ignorance of facts and ground realities”. The nation’s foreign ministry had sent out a strong note to India and other friendly nations to “refrain from carrying out actions that would hinder resolving current situation in the country”.
The beautiful island nation known for its luxurious beach resorts and scenic natural beauty has plunged into a political crisis due to exile of nine opposition leaders including the nation’s former president Mohamed Nasheed. The current president Abdulla Yameen imposed emergency after he was directed by a five judge bench to set free the opposition leaders after quashing the charges of terrorism against them. Mr. Yameen had also ordered arrest of two judges that were part of the bench that forced the others to surrender their power and overturn the verdict given earlier.
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