Indian journalists held in Male; China chants non-interference

With the arrest of two journalists – one Indian and another a British citizen of Indian origin – the political turmoil in the Maldives is likely to snowball.

Published: 09th February 2018 11:45 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th February 2018 05:21 AM   |  A+A-

A Maldives policeman charges with baton towards protesters after the government declared a 15-day state of emergency. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: With the arrest of two journalists – one Indian and another a British citizen of Indian origin – the political turmoil in the Maldives is likely to snowball.

The Maldives Police said they were arrested on charges of working in Maldives against the Maldives Immigration Act and Regulations. The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party identified the reporters, both working for Agence France Press, an international wire service, as Money Sharma, from Amritsar and Atish Rajvi Patel, a British citizen of Indian origin.

The arrests in Male, the capital of Maldives, come soon after a popular local television was shut down following death threats. Late on Friday, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said: “We have asked our Embassy to get in touch with the local authorities to ascertain more details of the (Money Sharma) case.”
Responding to reports that Indian Special Forces were on standby for deployment in the Maldives to evacuate Indians, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said “non-interference in other countries is an important principle of international relations.”

In Delhi, the MEA responded by throwing the words back at Beijing, saying “We note that China has said that Maldives Government has the ability to protect the security of Chinese personnel and institutions in Maldives. We hope that all countries can play a constructive role in Maldives, instead of doing the opposite.”

trump, modi share concern over phone
On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump had a telephone conversation in which they expressed concern. Both the leaders emphasised “importance of respect for democratic institutions and rule of law.” After the call, a White House statement said both of them affirmed President Trump’s ‘South Asia strategy’.  

Internal affair, says Beijing
President Yameen’s special envoy met Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Friday. China later said the Maldives crisis was its internal affair

‘Don’t want flashpoint’
Sources in Bejing China is  in touch with New Delhi over the situation since it doesn’t want the Maldives to become another “flashpoint” in Sino-Indian relations

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