Maldives Unrest: Government’s Defence, Indo-US-UN Reactions and Impact on Region

Maldives Unrest: Government’s Defence, Indo-US-UN Reactions and Impact on Region

Q. “The arrest of former President of the Maldives, Mohammed Nasheed is a major setback for democracy in the region” Discuss in light of India and US reactions to the arrest.

Maldives Arrest: Governmental Claims and Responses

• Mohammed Nasheed, former President of the Maldives recently arrested and denied legal representation after his arrest
• He is the first democratically elected president in the year 2008, ending an autocracy of over 30 years
• His Maldivian Democratic Party had appealed to the international community prior to the arrest
• Nasheed was charged under anti-terrorism laws for the arrest of a judge in 2012
• Lack of resolution of differences within the legal and constitutional framework
• Charges are politically motivated: Lawyers of MDP

Government’s Defence

• Arrest necessary to prevent Nasheed from absconding
• Political overtones to the arrest
• Allegations of a coup against Nasheed and MDP
• Following Indo-US concerns, government of Maldives accused the former President of performing stunts
• No interference with the Prosecutor General’s office or the judiciary
• Maldives government has asked India to adhere to the principles of Panchsheel and not interfere in the domestic politics of the nation
• Request for an envoy to mediate the current crisis

Indian Response

• India expressed concern over the arrest and manhandling of Nasheed
• It also asked those involved for resolving differences within a framework that is constitutional

US Response

US asked Maldives to restore confidence in:
• Democracy
• Judicial independence
• Rule of Law

UN Response

• UN Secretary’s spokesperson expressed that the situation was being closely monitored by the UN which was aware of the former President’s arrest

Implications for the Region

Yameen’s equation with Pakistan to be tested and important questions in this regard are:

• Review of strategic ties between China, Pakistan and Maldives
• China has been seeking to restore ties with Maldives; Indian concern in this context notable
• China aiming for expanding strategic influence in Maldives from point of view of military bases
• Intense lobbying by China through Pakistan
• China aiming for Marao Island base; war doctrine focused on sea based and not land based offensives
• China’s defence budget for the navy hiked by as much as 35 percent
• The arrest has far reaching implications for restoration of peace and democracy in the Maldives
• Nasheed’s arrest points to political vendetta and its powerful impact on people’s aspirations for democracy in the region


The Indian response to the arrest of the former Maldives president has been in keeping with its regional interests. To prevent an axis of Pakistan, China and the island nation, India would do well to put forth its objections at this stage itself and work for the restoration of peaceful democracy in the Maldives.
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