Yameen cites Kashmir, tells India to back off

Maldives, March 15
In a clear snub to India’s efforts to get the Abdulla Yameen government to lift emergency and restore democratic functioning, Maldives on Tuesday asked New Delhi to stay away from its “internal matter” just as the island nation will not preach on the Kashmir issue.
The provocative reference to Kashmir seems intended to drive home the point that Yameen will continue to keep opposition leaders out of the political field and signals defiance against India’s efforts to get him to release arrested leaders like Mohammed Nasheed, Abdul Gayoom and Supreme Court two judges.
After facilitating the entry of the first set of foreign journalists since the declaration of emergency on February 5, Yameen assigned eight of his cabinet members to urge India not to back Nasheed’s “efforts to destabilise the Maldives and spoil its relationship with India.”
“Why haven’t we gone into the Kashmir issue … and asked to be (an) intermediary? Because they are internal matters … India should stay away from our issue. We are independent and capable of dealing with the situation. If we need help, we will let India know,” said minister of fisheries and agriculture Mohamed Shainee.
Ministers said Maldives will continue its ‘India first’ policy and remain a friend.
The public defiance of Yameen’s ministers further complicate the situation for India, given the widespread impression that the Maldivian government is counting on backing from China.

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