New Delhi/ Washington/ Beijing: In what is being seen as a synchronised Indo-US strategy on the Maldives crisis, US President Donald Trump on Friday spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on phone, with both leaders expressing concern over the political situation in the tiny archipelago nation.
“Both leaders expressed concern about the political crisis in Maldives and the importance of respect for democratic institutions and rule of law,” the White House said in a readout of the phone call between Mr Trump and Mr Modi, the first in this year.
The White House said that the two leaders also pledged to continue working together to enhance security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
Apart from China, support for the Maldivian government has also come from Pakistan which appeared to play the Islamic card.
Pakistan on Friday hailed Maldives as “an important Muslim country in Saarc”, adding that “Pakistan and Maldives have deep and cordial relations, bound by religious and cultural affinity”.
In its reaction on the developments in the Maldives, Islamabad said, “Pakistan and Maldives have deep and cordial relations, bound by religious and cultural affinity. Maldives is an important Muslim country in Saarc. As a matter of policy, we do not comment on the internal matters of other countries. Pakistan firmly believes that the rule of democracy and constitution must be upheld and allowed to take its course, and supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Maldives as per the UN Charter.” It may be recalled that Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen had sent special envoys to China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia while a miffed India had refused to allow Male send its special envoy to New Delhi.
Modi, Trump discuss North Korea too
This, after the Maldivian President had ignored India’s advice to respect a Supreme Court order there on release of political prisoners.
Meanwhile, during their telephonic conversation President Trump and Modi also discussed situation in Afghanistan, Myanmar and North Korea.
“Affirming President Trump’s South Asia strategy, they reiterated their commitment to supporting Afghanistan’s security and stability,” the White House said. According to the White House, during the call, President Trump and PM Modi discussed further steps to ensure denuclearisation of North Korea.
“The leaders agreed to strengthen security and economic cooperation as they look forward to the ‘2+2’ ministerial talks between their officials in April,” the White House said.