Male: In a triumph of
diplomacy, India Thursday succeeded in brokering a political deal
in the Maldives, with all political parties agreeing to hold
elections "as early as possible", paving the way for a political
reconciliation in the island nation that plunged into turmoil
after Mohamed Nasheed resigned as president Feb 7.
The breakthrough came after Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, the
second senior Indian diplomat to visit the Maldives after the
dramatic transfer of power, held talks with key political figures,
including ousted president Mohamed Nasheed and his successor
Mohamed Waheed Hassan.
Mathai also met Abdulla Yameen of the Progressive Party of
Maldives (PPM), Thasmeen Ali of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP),
Chief Justice of the Maldivian Supreme Court and the Speaker of
the People's Majlis.
After wide-ranging discussions, the feuding Maldivian parties
agreed on a formulation that holds out the hope for an early
return of peace and stability to the strategically located island
"Consequent to my discussions, the following formulation was
agreed upon by all the parties concerned; In addition, in the
interests of national reconciliation and to encourage harmony
between our citizens, the government of National Unity will hold
discussions with all relevant parties to conduct elections by an
early date," Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said in the capital
"The government of national unity will work towards the conditions
that will permit such elections to take place including any
necessary constitutional amendments," said Mathai.
"There was a degree of convergence on how matters should be taken
forward. The parties also agree to the need for maintenance of
constitutional order," said Mathai. "The president has come out
with a roadmap for an inclusive political process which provides a
very good basis for the parties to resolve their differences,"
After initial missteps when India quickly recognized the regime of
the new president Mohamed Waheed Hasan, India made up by brokering
a broad-based political deal by conceding to the long-standing
demand of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) for early election.
"I reiterated our belief that there is need for a Maldivian led
process for reconciliation and resolving political differences
through constitutional means," he said.
Mathai, who was expected to return Thursday afternoon to host a
reception for the media at his residence, had to prolong his stay
in the Maldives by a few hours as a political settlement which
India had been pushing for looked imminent.
"The MDP, on its part, committed itself to encouraging an
atmosphere appropriate to the holding of elections. In this
context, we understand that their decision to hold a rally
tomorrow is being reconsidered," said Mathai.
With India stepping up its political outreach in the Maldives,
Nasheed softened his stance saying he was now satisfied with New
Delhi's "more realistic approach" towards the crisis in the
picture-pretty atoll nation.
"I now fully understand how things may be brought into a proper
alignment and I am much more satisfied," Nasheed told reporters in
Male after talks with Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai Wednesday
"I am more than satisfied with India and I believe that Indians
have (in mind) the best interest of Maldivian people," said
Nasheed, the country's first democratically-elected president who
resigned Feb 7 amid opposition protests and a police revolt.
Mathai, the second senior Indian diplomat to visit the Maldives
after the dramatic transfer of power, held talks with key
political figures, including Nasheed and his successor Mohamed
Only a few days ago, Nasheed had voiced disappointment with
India's stand after New Delhi quickly recognized the new
president, barely 24 hours after Nasheed resigned amid
M. Ganapathi, secretary (west) in the external affairs ministry,
went as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's special envoy last week to
meet key political figures to underline the need for a broad-based