Maldives' ex-VP asks India to lead sanctions against govt

Former Maldives vice president Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed urged neighbors India to assume leadership and act to resolve the crisis by imposing targeted sanctions against the government in Male.

Jameel who lives in self-imposed exile in the UK after he was unceremoniously deposed as the VP in 2015, believes that India has the moral responsibility as the closest neighbour and the largest democracy to come to the aid of another democracy, as it had done in the past.

“India has always come to our rescue, but I have not seen much involvement from India this time, apart from some statements. I would say to (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi: Sir, time is against us; take decisive action and resolve it as quickly as possible,” he said in an interview with the 'Hindustan Times'.

The island nation has been embroiled in fresh political turmoil after the Supreme Court on February 1 ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.

Incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on February 5 had declared a 15 day state of emergency after his last ditch attempt to convince the top court to revoke the order failed, purged the Supreme Court by arresting two judges and the remaining political leaders and ultimately had the order revoked.

As the state of emergency expired, president Yameen had got the parliament contentiously extend it by another 30 days.

"The political crisis is escalating at a dangerous rate; resistance is met with brutal force. Nothing is functioning at the moment; parliament is paralysed, the judiciary is under siege, the chief justice is in detention. The entire opposition is either in exile or in prison. No constitutional or legal institution is able to function independently," Yameen's first deputy said.

"The whole country is in some way paralysed; this is a nation that is helpless at the moment. The international community should intervene; time is critical. So far we have seen few statements, but the world has largely been silent."

Jameel believes that there are there are various options India can take.

"I have not seen much involvement from India this time, apart from some statements. I don’t think that you (India) should keep quiet. You should be seen to be involved and engaged; the more you do that, the current regime (in Maldives) will be forced to be accountable, to comply with its obligations," he explained.

"If that does not work, then India should explore available international avenues. This is the time to explore targeted sanctions on the regime and the businesses that are helping it; freezing assets and imposing travel bans."