India today asserted that it attaches importance to holding of free and credible polls in peaceful environment in Maldives as it prepares to send a high-level team of former Chief Election Commissioners as observers for the September 7 Presidential vote there.
It also noted that the government has been engaged with all Presidential candidates and political leaders in Maldives in its efforts to facilitate a smooth political process leading up to Presidential election. "India welcomes the holding of Presidential election in the Maldives on 7 September 2013. We attach importance to the holding of free, fair and credible elections in a peaceful environment followed by a smooth transition. Several Maldivian political leaders have visited India including President Mohamed Waheed in May 2012; former President Mohamed Nasheed in August 2013; former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in June 2013; and Abdulla Yameen in August 2013," Ministry of External Affairs said.
In addition, India had also received in 2013 delegations led by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Maldives Ahmed Faiz Hussain in June; Speaker of People’s Majlis Abdulla Shahid in May; and Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim in April.
"India is committed to strengthening the institutions of democracy in the Maldives. In this context, the Election Commission of India is working closely with the Elections Commission of Maldives to further strengthen its capacity. India is also arranging for the training of Maldivian Judges in India," the ministry said. India attaches the highest importance to its relations with Maldives, a close and friendly neighbour, and desires to see a peaceful, stable and prosperous Maldives, it said.
In response to an invitation from the Election Commission of Maldives, India proposes to send a high-level team of observers for the Presidential elections in Maldives consisting of former Chief Election Commissioners of India, JM Lyngdoh, BB Tandon and N Gopala Swami, and former High Commissioner of India to Maldives SM Gavai, the MEA said. The observers are scheduled to reach Male on 1st September 2013 and would undertake visits to a number of polling stations in different islands.