Maldives' beleaguered President Abdulla Yameen wanted to send his foreign minister as special envoy but the Indian side did not find the dates "suitable", the Maldivian ambassador said today, even as officials here maintained that no "real action" was taken by that country on India's concerns over democracy there.
Yameen has already dispatched special envoys to China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to brief them about the deepening political crisis in the country.
Maldives crisis: China opposes UN mediation, calls for promoting dialogue between parties to end row
"India was in fact the first stop planned and proposed for a visit of a special envoy of the president of Maldives. However, the dates proposed were not suitable for the Indian leadership," Maldivian envoy Ahmed Mohamed told PTI.
"We understand the external affairs minister is out of country and the prime minister is leaving for UAE during the week," he said.
However, sources here said that there is a set protocol to send an envoy and India had not been informed of the purpose of sending the envoy.
Indicating that India may have declined the proposed visit, a source said, "Also we have not seen any real action on the concerns stated by the international community and India. Democratic institutions and the judiciary continue to be undermined and concerns ignored, these issues need to be properly addressed."
The Maldivian ambassador also said that his country would have liked that this meeting could have taken place as the discussion across the table is the best to understand the situation and address bilateral concerns, if any.
"We look forward to a mutually convenient time to carry this dialogue forward so that there is better understanding and misconceptions cleared without the need to be sensitive," he said.
On the perception that Maldives was closer to China, he said India should reach out to Maldives, and Male and New Delhi should have close ties given that the two countries are neighbours.
President Yameen has sent Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed to China and Foreign Minister Mohamed Asim to Pakistan in the wake of the crisis.
Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Mohamed Shainee is going to Saudi Arabia.
Later, a Maldivian embassy release also said, "The first stop of special envoy of the President was India. Foreign Minister of Maldives Mohamed Asim, the designated Special envoy of the President, was scheduled for 8th February 2018, to (visit) India but the visit was cancelled on the request of the Government of India."
It also said, "It is therefore grossly misleading to say that the Government of the Maldives was bypassing India."
The island nation, which has seen several political crises since the ouster of its first democratically-elected president Mohamed Nasheed in 2012, plunged into chaos last Thursday when the apex court ordered the release of nine imprisoned opposition politicians, maintaining that their trials were "politically motivated and flawed".
India, which is monitoring the situation very "closely", had said on Tuesday that it was "disturbed" about the declaration of emergency by the Maldivian government and described as a matter of "concern" the arrests of the chief justice and political figures there.
However, earlier this week, the Supreme Court revoked its order on the release of the opposition politicians.