NEW DELHI, Feb 10 (IANS): With the Maldives slipping into a deeper crisis with defiant ousted president Mohamed Nasheed alleging a coup, a team of senior officials of the external affairs ministry Friday left for Male to assess the ground realities and help stabilise the situation.
The team, led by M. Ganapthi, secretary (West) left by a special flight, government sources said.
India is understood to be preparing a contingency plan as the Maldives, the Indian Ocean archipelago nation comprising around 1200 scattered islands, continued to be on boil three days after the ouster of the first democratically elected president.
A Maldivian court Thursday issued a warrant for arresting Nasheed, a day after his his supporters went on a rampage in the capital Male following his ouster Tuesday. However, with increasing global pressure and scrutiny, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, the new president, has assured that Nasheed will not be arrested.
In the wake of such reports, India has urged the new dispensation to ensure that Nasheed is not arrested or harmed in any way and is proactively trying to ensure a peaceful transition of power in the island nation.
The political churn in the the Maldives, known for its luxury resort islands, took a turn for the worse as the 44-year-old Nasheed contended that he was forced to resign at gunpoint and accused the new president of masterminding his ouster. Waheed has denied any attempt at coup and said the handover of power on Tuesday was part of a political transition.
"I believe this to be a coup d'etat and suspect that my vice president, who has since been sworn into office, helped to plan it," Nasheed wrote in an article in The New York Times entitled "The Dregs of Dictatorship."