India asks Maldives to restore political process before pres polls

India on Friday had expressed concern over announcement of elections in the Maldives without allowing democratic institutions, including Parliament and the judiciary, to work in a free and transparent manner.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told India reporters that the Indian government wants "credible restoration" of the political process and the rule of law in the island nation before the elections are conducted.

"The announcement of elections in the Maldives at a time when the democratic institutions, including the Majlis and the judiciary, are not allowed to function in a free and transparent manner is indeed a matter of concern," he said.

Kumar said India was closely following the situation in the country.

"We have urged the Government of Maldives to return to the path of democracy and ensure credible restoration of the political process and the rule of law, before the elections are conducted," he said.

"It is important that a conducive atmosphere is created for holding free and fair elections in the Maldives," Kumar added.

Amid political instability in the country, Maldives' electoral watchdog had announced that presidential elections will be held on September 23.

India's statement echoes concerns voiced by the European Union and the United States for free and fair polls in the country.

Almost all opposition leader including former president Mohamed Nasheed remains jailed or in exiled.

The self-exiled Nasheed had recently forfeited his presidential ticket which has now been handed over to veteran opposition lawmaker Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

Solih's nomination appears to have united the opposition as he is set to lead the opposition alliance in the September elections.