Maldivian opposition protestors shout slogans demanding the release of political prisoners during a protest in Male, Maldives.
World

Emergency in Maldives: India, US, China and UK Issue Advisories

With Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen declaring a state of emergency amid a political crisis in the country,China, the United States and India issued travel advisories to the country best known as a beach paradise for tourists.

A tropical paradise for holidaymakers, the Maldives has been beset by fractious politics for years, but concern over potential instability heightened after Maldives President Abdulla Yameen on Monday declared a state of emergency for 15 days and security forces stormed the Supreme Court in an escalation of a power struggle with the archipelago’s top court.

Police also arrested former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom at his residence along with his son-in-law. Gayoom is Yameen's half-brother and ruled the country in the Indian Ocean for 30 years until 2008 but is now in the opposition.

The president has defied a Supreme Court ruling ordering jailed opposition leaders to be freed, including Gayoom’s son Farish, an opposition lawmaker.

Also Read: Maldives: Security Forces Break Into SC, 15-Day Emergency Declared

India Issues Travel Advisory, Asks Travelers to Defer Non-Essential Trips

Following the announcement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued an advisory asking Indians to defer all non-essential travels to the Maldives due to the prevailing law and order situation.

The prevailing political developments in Maldives and the resultant law and order situation is a matter of concern for the Government of India. Indian nationals are, therefore, advised to defer all non-essential travels to Male and other atolls until further notice. Indian expatriates in Maldives are also alerted to the need for heightened security awareness, and urged to exercise due caution in public and avoid public gatherings.
MEA statement

India on Friday called for peace and stability in the Indian Ocean archipelago nation.

"In the spirit of democracy and rule of law, it is imperative for all organs of the government of Maldives to respect and abide by the order of the apex court," the External Affairs said in a statement.

It also called upon the Maldivian authorities to ensure the safety and security of the Indian expatriates in Maldives under all circumstances.

"As a close and friendly neighbour, India wishes to see a stable, peaceful and prosperous Maldives," the statement said.

Also Read: Maldives Crisis Not Like Operation Cactus, India Can’t Oust Yameen

Avoid Maldives Until Crisis Sudsides: China Alerts Its Citizens

China's foreign ministry also advised Chinese citizens to avoid visiting the Maldives until political tensions subside on the Indian Ocean archipelago.

China suggests that Chinese citizens who are preparing to go to the Maldives in the near term to postpone going until the situation on the ground stabilises.
Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

Noting that the upcoming Chinese New Year was a peak period for Chinese tourists to visit the Maldives, Geng said that China supports the resolution of differences between all relevant sides in the Maldives through dialogue and consultation to protect its national and social stability.

President Yameen's government has had good relations with China and a free trade agreement between the two countries was signed in December, despite criticism from the opposition.

China has been striking deals with countries in Asia and Africa in line with its "belt and road initiative" to improve imports of key commodities, upgrade infrastructure and trade routes in the region and boost its diplomatic clout.

Respect Rule of Law: US Warns Maldives

The U.S. White House National Security Council released a statement on Twitter saying, "The Maldivian government and military must respect the rule of law, freedom of expression, and democratic institutions. The world is watching."

US Department of State issued a strong statement condemning the state of emergency declared in the country.

Opposition legislator Eva Abdulla said the state of emergency shows Yameen's desperation.

“It only serves to show an isolated man who no longer has the confidence of the Maldivian people and independent institutions. He has no democratic mandate to govern and must resign immediately
Opposition legislator Eva Abdulla

UK Calls For Peace, Says Damage to Democratic Institution Deeply Worrying

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson issued a press release saying his govt was gravely concerned about the declaration of a state of emergency in the Maldives.

He also urged President Yameen and the Government of Maldives “to peacefully end the state of emergency, restore all articles of the constitution, take immediate steps to implement in full the order of the Supreme Court, and to permit and support the full, free and proper functioning of Parliament.”

(With inputs from Reuters, AP and IANS)

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