India on Tuesday rejected Maldives’ proposal to send a special envoy to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the GMR airport row.
“During his visit in May, President Mohammad Waheed had assured that he will start negotiations with GMR on the contract. But, the negotiations never started. So, we don’t think that there is anything new that Male could tell the PM,” said MEA sources.
Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdul Samad Abdullah called up External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and offered to send the envoy but Khurshid spurned it, the sources said.
With the Maldives government firm on ousting GMR and taking the reins of the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport from Saturday, MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin warned Male against using “coercive measures” which will have “adverse consequences” on bilateral ties. However, the Maldivian foreign minister said the special envoy will be “received appropriately” and the “message” will conveyed to the Indian PM.
GMR has asserted that it was not going to leave Maldives, especially as the arbitration process had suspended the cancellation of the contract.
India also expressed concern over the political climate prevailing in Maldives. Even a political party in the ruling coalition, Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), had said that there was a “climate of fear”, especially following the vote in the Majlis by a narrow majority to allow secret ballot during no-conidence motions. The opposition MDP has said that it plans to bring no-confidence motions against the President.
India has already kept in abeyance of the latest instalment of the standby credit facility for budgetary support of $25 million, which the Cabinet had approved on September 24. Express had reported the same week that India was not going to release the money till it felt that Male was going in the “right direction”, especially perturbed by the vitriolic political campaign against the GMR group.
Earlier on Tuesday, Maldives repaid $50 million of its debts to State Bank of India in Male.