MALE — A senior Maldives minister has warned India to say away from a political crisis in his country and called it as ‘an internal matter’ like Kashmir where ens of thousands of people have died in the violence, not including those who have disappeared due to the conflict.
The remarks came from Fisheries and Agriculture Minister Dr Mohamed Shainee, who has also drawn parallels between the state of emergency in the Maldives and the one in France where basic rights were curtailed during emergency.
“Why haven’t we gone into the Kashmir issue … and asked to be (an) intermediary? Because they are internal matters … India should stay away from our issue,” Shainee told visiting Indian journalists on Wednesday, “We are independent and capable of dealing with the situation. If we need help, we will let India know.”
Kashmir has been a flashpoint between nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan for decades, with both countries laying claim to the territory in its entirety. Tens of thousands of people have died in the violence, not including those who have disappeared due to the conflict.
Shainee was one of eight ministers who briefed foreign media to reassure them about the situation and stress the normality of life outside Malé, which has borne the brunt of the turmoil since a shock Supreme Court ruling and state of emergency declaration.
India has urged President Abdulla Yameen to obey the court order and lift the state of emergency, pleas he has ignored. It has also expressed its “deep dismay” about the extension, earning an extraordinary slap from Malé.
Ministers dismissed allegations from ex-president Nasheed that the Maldives government was moving closer to China, said the Indian Express, with the delegation promising the country would never cause “a threat to India” and would still follow its ‘India First’ policy.
“Maldives continues to consider India as a big brother, not China,” the newspaper cited Shainee as saying.