Amid the Maldives crisis, the island nation has declined India's invitation to participate in an eight-day biennial naval exercise next month. The naval exercise named Milan starts on March 6.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, February 26, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said that though Maldives refused to take part in the naval exercise, it did not give a reason behind the decision. "Maldives has not given any reason for the decision," NDTV quoted Lanba as saying.
Milan, a biennial exercise, is held at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and this year 16 countries from around the world will participate in it. The focus of this year's exercise is China's growing presence in the Indo-Pacific region and the same is likely to be discussed by naval chiefs attending the exercise.
"The interactions during Milan encompass sharing of views and ideas on maritime good order and enhancing regional cooperation for combating unlawful activities at sea," the Press Trust of India quoted spokesperson of Indian Navy Capt D K Sharma as saying.
Apart from discussing steps and strategies, Milan will also help the nations build stronger ties and decide measures to take on the security challenges, he added.
The Maldives has been facing a severe political crisis for the last few days after President Abdulla Yameen refused to reinstate the MPs of the opposition. He had also said that he would not release political prisoners, after which an emergency was declared in the island nation.
The emergency has now been extended, which has not gone down well with India. "We are deeply dismayed that the government of Maldives has extended the State of Emergency for a further 30 days. The manner in which the extension of the State of Emergency was approved by the Majlis in contravention of the Constitution of Maldives is also a matter of concern," India's Foreign Ministry had said in a statement.
However, Maldives has made it clear that it doesn't appreciate other nations interfering in its matters and has included India in the list. A statement by the Maldives' foreign ministry said that its friends and neighbours must "refrain from any actions that could hinder resolving the situation facing the country."
The Indian government has earlier too said that it was "disturbed by the declaration of a state of emergency" and it was said that the nation may also keep troops on standby in case of any eventuality or if Maldives crisis deepens and the nation formally requests help.