New Delhi, Sep 20 (IANS) India hopes the upcoming presidential election in the Maldives will be held in “a fair, transparent and in a very credible manner”, a senior official said on Thursday.
“We are following the upcoming presidential election process very closely,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a media briefing here.
“The relations between the people of India and the people of Maldives are very historical, very close, very friendly,” Kumar said.
“We do hope that the election process in Maldives will be conducted in a fair, transparent and in a very credible manner.”
The Indian establishment, it is learnt, is happy that the opposition parties in the Indian Ocean archipelago nation have put up Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of the Maldivian Democratic Party as their joint candidate against incumbent President Yameen Abdul Gayoom for the September 23 election.
With a number of prominent opposition figures of the country put behind bars, former President Mohamed Nasheed living in exile, a defunct parliament and a crippled judiciary, there is a big question mark over free and fair elections in the Maldives.
The latest crisis in the Maldives began in February this year when President Gayoom of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) declared a state of Emergency.
Security forces stormed the Supreme Court and arrested two of its five sitting judges, sealed parliament house and detained prominent opposition leaders.
India is concerned with the political instability in the Maldives, which is just around 1,200 km away from the Indian mainland, for a variety of reasons. The archipelago nation, home to around 22,000 Indians, is of strategic importance to India and its growing proximity with China is a cause of concern for New Delhi.