India and Pakistan find themselves agreeing on the crisis in the Maldives

Pakistan has said that it would adhere to the principles of the United Nations on the Maldives crisis, contrary to the stand taken by ally China and similar to the one taken by India

Photo courtesy: Twitter/@pid_gov
Photo courtesy: Twitter/@pid_gov

Dhairya Maheshwari

Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has refused to side with the administration of Maldives’ President Abdulla Yameen over the ongoing political turmoil on the island nation, firmly stating that Islamabad would adhere to the principles of the United Nations, Pakistani media is reporting.

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen’s special envoy, foreign minister Dr Mohamed Asim, began his three-day visit to Pakistan on Friday in a bid to solicit international support from the government in the wake of Maldives’ Supreme Court ruling on Feb 1 reinstating Opposition MPs convicted of terrorism charges, including former President Mohamed Nasheed.

Asim was scheduled to visit India on Feb 8, but the Indian leadership refused to give him a time citing “scheduling issues.”

Abbasi’s statement, reported in the Pakistani media on Saturday, is expected to further isolate the Yameen regime, which has been pulled up the United States, United Kingdom, United Nations and India over its refusal to abide by the rule of law.

Only China so far has been standing with the Yameen administration, advising against any foreign intervention after news reports that India was readying troops for ground operations in the SAARC country.

"The international community shall play a constructive role on the basis of respecting the sovereignty of the Maldives, instead of further complicating the situation," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Wednesday. Shuang further blasted ex-President Nasheed for his remarks which accused China of backing the beleaguered regime.

The Maldives announced on Wednesday that it would send its economic development minister Mohamed Saeed to China, while fisheries minister Mohamed Shainee embarked on a trip to Saudi Arabia, as part of the same outreach programme.

The crisis in the Maldives has put India and China on opposite sides of the fence. India’s former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal has remarked that India wouldn’t want a “foreign power” like China to be entrenched in the Maldives.

“China was trying very hard to take control over one of the islands in the archipelago. Although they have been maintaining that the island was meant for commercial development and the interest was purely economic, the fact of the matter remains that there is a geostrategic objective behind it,” Sibal had earlier this week told National Herald.

“The Maldives is already a crucial part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. China needs staging points in the Indian Ocean and Maldives is important in that regard.”

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