His country is a normal, functioning democracy is the message the new Maldivian President, Dr Mohammed Waheed, has for India. “I wish to impress on the Indian people that my country is stable and safe and there is no reason to be overly worried about the situation,” he said on his maiden state visit to New Delhi.
He will also ask for financial assistance. The Maldives has $ 2 billion in unpaid bills — equal to a fifth of its budget. Waheed said PM Manmohan Singh had been “generous” in his talks and “we are optimist about technical and financial support.”
Waheed came to power after the controversial fall of the government of the country’s first elected president Mohammed Nasheed in February. The latter has claimed he was coerced into resigning and said he was the victim of a “coup.”
Nasheed has “spread stories in the media,” said Waheed. “He resigned live on TV. He wrote his own resignation letter. He could have said he was being coerced at any time.”
Maldives was now set to hold elections at the “earliest possible date” under the constitution.
In a sign the political storm in the island nation is abating, Waheed said he was “optimistic” the government and the opposition will come to an agreement on nature of inquiry into the events that led to Nasheed's fall.