Suspension of elections could make end of Indian influence in Maldives: Firstpost

The Maldives Supreme Court has just postponed the presidential run-off, due for this Saturday, 28 September, thus triggering a breach of the constitution as the Supreme Court intervention means that now there will be a gap of more than three weeks between the two rounds in the presidential election in Maldives, writes Rajeev Sharma for Firstpost.

This is a severe diplomatic and strategic setback for India. The development indicates that all is not well for India in the tiny archipelago nation in the Indian Ocean where Pakistan and China are feverishly engaged in a covert game of outsmarting and outplaying India on the Maldivian chess board.

The intervention by the Maldives Supreme Court indicates that some cloak-and-dagger operations are going on in Male’ to ensure that Mohammed Nasheed , who was ousted 19 months ago in an alleged but never-proven coup, does not become the president again. Nasheed stood the brightest chance to become the president again as he was way ahead of all his rivals in the first round of voting earlier this month, but fell short of getting more than the 50 per cent votes to avoid a run-off.

India may say that it is not backing any particular candidate in the Maldivian presidential election, but it is obvious that Nasheed is New Delhi’s choice. The latest development is more of an affront for India than it is for Nasheed.

The Indian diplomatic establishment will be right in maintaining that it is not for or against any candidate in the Maldivian presidential election. Nonetheless, it needs to get its act together and act fast before time runs out.

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