'Hurt' that Narendra Modi could not visit: Maldives

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| Tuesday, March 17, 2015 - 15:38
First Published |
Narendra Modi

New Delhi: Maldives Tuesday voiced its "hurt" at Prime Minister Narendra Modi not visiting it during his recent trip to the region even as it sought to allay India's concerns over the imprisonment of former president Mohammed Nasheed.

Reacting to the response of international community, including India, which expressed "deep concern" over Nasheed's conviction under anti-terror law and 13-year jail sentence, it said, "It is as per law and purely a domestic issue."

"We do understand India's concerns. It is natural to be concerned if something is happening in your neighbourhood, especially given Modi's neighbourhood first approach," Fathimath Inaya, Deputy Minister in Maldivian Foreign Ministry, told PTI here.

She also reiterated her President Yameen Abdul Gayoom's remarks that Maldives wanted to engage constructively with its international partners, based on mutual respect and dialogue, in consolidating and strengthening democratic values and institutions in the country, implying that it will not like any interference in the matter.

Asked about Modi choosing not to visit Maldives during his recent visit to the countries in the region, she said, "We had extensive discussions with Indian side for a possible visit by Prime Minister Modi but we were told that environment was not conducive for his visit."

"We are hurt that the Prime Minister could not visit this time."

Admitting that there was no intervention from any country, including India, the deputy minister said, "No country has intervened. Our government has maintained that it is a domestic judicial process, so we do not foresee any country coming into intervening in what is essentially a domestic issue in Maldives."

Yesterday, Maldivian Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon, in Colombo, had said, "I have consistently said that India respects our sovereignty and our independence. While on the basis of the friendship, we can discuss concerns and have a dialogue. But I don't think India nor any other country would be giving us directions...On a particular matter."

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