The situation in the Maldives is being reviewed by a group of nine foreign ministers in the Commonwealth organization. The confederation of former British colonies has the power to expel member states for violations of its code of conduct.
The president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, resigned on Tuesday, but claimed he was forced to do so under duress. He has been replaced by the serving vice-president, Waheed Hassan who tells a different version of the situation.
Nasheed was the first democratically elected president of this island nation after decades of rule by a dictator. Next elections were scheduled for 2013. The situation seems to have come to a head when Nasheed sought to prosecute a senior judge for political bias. Now an arrest warrant has been issued against him.Source: Los Angeles Times Nasheed is no stranger to Maldive jails, having been imprisoned during the former dictator’s reign for his human rights work.
The US Assistant Secretary of State, Robert Blake, is in the island nation and is awaiting clarification of the political situation. At this point the US is withholding recognition of the legitimacy of the new president.
The largest industry of the Maldives is its tourist trade. Located in the Indian Ocean, coral atolls and gleaming white beaches bring sun seekers to idyllic atolls. Many never see the capital city Male which is surrounded with a sea wall to deal with rising sea levels. Pres. Nasheed was moving to reduce the nation’s dependence on diesel generators for electrical generation, but garbage and sewage disposal are still large problems for the state.
As the global political scene continues to shift, this group of islands in the Indian Ocean grows in strategic importance. They are on crucial sea shipping lanes. China has recently established a full embassy in the tiny nation which has India, its nearest neighbour, increasingly anxious. Rumours of China working to establish a military base on an uninhabited atoll are circulating.
“China's main aim is to ensure the security of its sea lanes facilitating its critically-needed energy imports. But there is no getting away from the fact that it also amounts to a virtual encircling of India, in what is called the "string-of-pearls" construct.” The Times of India