Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cancelled Maldives from his itinerary of visits to island nations in the Indian Ocean next week.
Modi was slated to visit Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles. But a latest press statement from the Indian Foreign Ministry has omitted Maldives from the trip.
“The visit of the Prime Minister to our friendly maritime neighbours is reflective of India’s desire to further strengthen our ties in the Indian Ocean region,” said the Indian Foreign Ministry statement on Friday.
Maldives government minister Mohamed Shareef said New Delhi has informed Maldives the visit was being cancelled because the “local environment is not conducive” without offering specifics.
Maldives has been hit by political turmoil as a former President was arrested on terrorism charges. Hundreds of party activists took to the streets shouting anti-government slogans after Mohamed Nasheed, the country’s first democratically elected president, was detained.
New Delhi has expressed concern at the arrest of the former president.
“We are concerned at recent developments in the Maldives, including the arrest and manhandling of former president Nasheed,” the country’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
“We urge all concerned to calm the situation and resolve their differences within the constitutional and legal framework of Maldives.”
Meanwhile, Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin has said the Prime Minister’s trip to Maldives had not been announced, although the Maldives government says it was preparing for the trip.
A Reuters report had said earlier that Indian Prime Minister Modi will make pledges of military and civilian assistance during his trip to Maldives and the other neighbouring nations.
Maldives and Sri Lanka last year agreed to be part of China’s proposed new “maritime Silk Road”.
TBP and Agencies