President Abdulla Yameen is due to call on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an official visit to New Delhi on April 10, the president’s office has announced.
Yameen is also scheduled to meet with President of India, Pranah Mukerjee, and will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon, Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Mohamed Shainee and three MPs.
The two-day visit comes amidst a lobbying effort by the government to avoid action by the Commonwealth over widely condemned human rights abuses, including the imprisonment of former President Mohamed Nasheed.
Yameen, in a visit to Malaysia in March, sought the help of the Malaysian government to make sure “small countries in the Commonwealth and other international organisations need not be unfairly punished.”
Malaysia and India sit on the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, a body that monitors member states’ observance of democracy.
The CMAG in February had issued a list of demands on the Maldivian government, including initiating all-party talks, releasing jailed politicians and enabling the return of exiles. The group is set to review the Maldives’ progress in mid-April.
Yameen had extended an invitation to the opposition for talks, but the Maldivian Democratic Party and the Adhaalath Party said they would only join if jailed opposition leaders are freed.
Nasheed remains in the United Kingdom on government-authorised medical leave, while AP President Sheikh Imran Abdulla was transferred to house arrest this week.
Ministers have also made visits to key Commonwealth countries in recent weeks.
Minister of Legal Affairs Azima Shakoor departed to the United Kingdom today. She had only recently returned from a visit to Pakistan.
Azima is scheduled to call on the new Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Patricia Scotland, reports Sun Online.
Shainee meanwhile visited the Solomon Islands and called on its Prime Minister Manasseh Sogarave in late March.
Both Pakistan and the Solomon Islands are part of the CMAG.
Earlier in March, Yameen said the Maldives avoided action after India and Pakistan “spoke in our defence.” He said that he had spoken at length with the Indian and Pakistani prime ministers ahead of the CMAG meeting.
“They were very obliging … it was their representatives who spoke in our defence. There were some who attacked us. But we were saved because of the work done by both of our neighbourly powers.”
Maldives was placed on the CMAG agenda in 2012 following Nasheed’s ouster; a move the government said was unfair, “based on false allegations, and the country’s economy and democratic governance suffered significantly as a result.”