Re-admit Maldives, Jaishankar tells Commonwealth
External affairs minister S Jaishankar has called for fast-tracking the process of re-admitting Maldives into the Commonwealth, which the Indian Ocean country left in 2016 at the height of political turmoil in Male.
The situation in Maldives changed in September 2018 when the opposition candidate, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, won the presidential election, defeating the then president, Abdulla Yameen.
The development was welcomed by India. Maldives was the first country Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited after his government was returned to office in May.
Jaishankar called for fast-tracking Maldives’ re-admission during the 19th Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting here, when he also informed that India is in the process of fulfilling commitments made by Modi during the 2018 CHOGM in London, much before the next summit in 2020.
Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih requested re-admission to the Commonwealth in December. To re-join, Maldives must demonstrate that it complies with the fundamental values set out in the Commonwealth Charter through an assessment by the secretary-general.
The secretary-general must then consult with member countries, and if there is agreement, invite Maldives to make a formal application, presenting evidence of functioning democratic processes and popular support for rejoining the Commonwealth.
Hosted by the UK as the current chair of the Commonwealth, the meeting of foreign ministers reviewed implementation of the mandates of CHOGM 2018 and held discussions on the CHOGM 2020 to be held in Kigali in June next year.
“The participation of India at ministerial level is a reaffirmation of the importance that India attaches to the Commonwealth”, a statement from the Indian high commission said on Thursday.
Jaishankar also had bilateral talks with foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, thanking the British government for its support to Modi’s initiative to build a global Coalition of Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.
Jaishankar also held bilateral talks with foreign ministers of Australia, Canada and Bangladesh on the sidelines of the Commonwealth meeting, besides interacting with MPs, lords and members of think-tanks during his visit.