“The Maldives, under immense international pressure led by India, has decided to hold a fresh round of presidential elections in November. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating,” writes Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury for India’s Economic Times newspaper.
“The island nation has a history of state interventions to postpone poll, and one must wait to conclude that the Mohamed Waheed government believes in democracy.”
“A smooth transition of power next month is essential for regional stability — and Indian concerns are relevant. India had even sent five observers to oversee the elections last Saturday. But they returned empty-handed after the police intervened to stop polling.”
“India, with huge stakes in the Maldives, has so far handled the crisis well. Initially it tried to convince the parties to hold elections as scheduled, then Delhi reached out to global powers to put diplomatic pressure on Waheed. Besides UNSC members, India, in a clever strategy, moved countries that are close to the Maldives — Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, UAE and Malaysia.
Unlike some Western powers, Delhi was careful not to use intimidation or force to ensure polls in the name of democracy. Such interference would have boomeranged and strengthened the anti-India lobby in the Maldives. The idea is to have a democratic and stable Maldives where ballot, not bullet, is supreme,” concludes Chaudhury.