Maldives declares State of Emergency

The Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, has been facing a severe political crisis for the last few days with its president Abdulla Yameen refusing to comply with the Supreme Court's order to reinstate MPs of the opposition and also denying release to political prisoners. An emergency has now been declared in the Maldives and in tune, India is likely to keep its troops ready in case there is a call for help.

The Indian government has already said that it was "disturbed by the declaration of a state of emergency" and it is now likely that the troops will be kept on standby in case of any eventuality or if Maldives crisis deepens and the nation formally requests help, reported the Press Trust of India.

Maldivian police stand guard on a main street during a protest by opposition supporters against the government's delay in releasing their jailed leadersReuters

However, it has been said that India readying its troops isn't really unusual as it is a part of the standard operating procedure (SOP).

Even though Yameen insisted that all was fine despite the emergency and asked the citizens of Maldives to remain calm, the Indian government has asked its citizens not to travel to "Male (Maldives' capital) and other atolls until further notice."

Later the Ministry of External Affairs also released a statement speaking of the situation. "We are disturbed by the declaration of a State of Emergency in the Maldives following the refusal of the Government to abide by the unanimous ruling of the full bench of the Supreme Court on 1 February, and also by the suspension of Constitutional rights of the people of Maldives," it read.

"The arrest of the Supreme Court Chief Justice and political figures are also reasons for concern. Government continues to carefully monitor the situation."

While Yameen may say that all is fine and as usual, former president Mohammed Nasheed tweeted to the Indian government requesting an intervention.

China watching the situation

Meanwhile, China too is said to be keeping a close watch on the situation and its foreign ministry said that the issue must be sorted out through a dialogue "China has been closely following the situation in the Maldives. We hope various parties of the Maldives will properly resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation, resume the normal order as soon as possible and maintain national and social stability," the New Indian Express quoted the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson as saying.

China has also asked the nation to take steps to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens, institutions and cooperative projects in the Maldives.

Opposition supporters protest against the government's delay in releasing their jailed leaders, including former president Mohamed NasheedReuters

Maldives Crisis Fact File

  1. The political crisis gained momentum last week when the nation's SC ordered the release of nine political prisoners.
  2. It also demanded that the 12 legislators, who were fired for abandoning Yameen's party, be reinstated.
  3. The president refused to comply with the court's order and instead had sent a military to the parliament.
  4. The troops had then "blockaded and locked the Supreme Court building from outside," according to a tweet by Maldives' former Attorney General Husnu Al Suood.
  5. Yameen has now urged the people of Maldives to stay calm and also said he had taken measures to prevent a coup, Reuters reported.