On impeachment motion against Maldives President, India says ‘internal matter’

India on Thursday declined to comment on reports that Maldives’ main opposition party, which has a majority in Parliament, is ready to file an impeachment motion against President Mohammed Muizzu.

Addressing the weekly media briefing, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said that these are internal matters of the country.

“These are internal matters of Maldives and we would not like to comment on it,” Jaiswal told reporters.

Earlier this week, an MP from the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party said his party, along with others, had gathered enough signatures to file an impeachment motion against Muizzu. However, he said the opposition has not yet presented it in Parliament.

The development came a day after violence broke out in the Maldives Parliament, when MPs from pro-government parties People’s National Congress (PNC) and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) disrupted the proceedings and clashed with the Speaker.

The clash occurred during a special session called to seek parliamentary approval for ministers in President Mohammad Muizzu’s cabinet.

45-year-old Muizzu had defeated India’s current candidate Ibrahim Mohammad Solih in the presidential election held in September last year. Since his election, there has been a diplomatic tussle between Maldives and India on many issues.

The diplomatic row began when Muizzu demanded India to withdraw its troops from the island nation within 24 hours of his swearing-in.

Questions were also raised over Muizzi’s decision to visit Turkey after being sworn in and break the tradition of making New Delhi his first international destination as a sign of India’s influence in the island nation.

Tension escalated further after three Maldivian ministers made uncontrolled comments on social media against Prime Minister Narendra Modi after posting some pictures from their Lakshadweep trip.

The Maldives had earlier this week agreed to allow a Chinese research ship to dock at Male port, countering India’s fears about increased Chinese naval attacks in the Indian Ocean.

The Maldives’ proximity to India, barely 70 nautical miles from Minicoy Island in Lakshadweep and 300 nautical miles from the west coast of the mainland, and its location at the hub of commercial sea routes passing through the Indian Ocean region give it significant strategic importance.