Indian, British Journalists Arrested in Maldives

GettyThe Maldives is made up of 26 coral atolls and 1,192

"The Maldives has the ability to protect the security of the Chinese personnel and the institutions", Mr Saeed told Mr Wang.

India and the US have expressed concern on the "political crisis in the Maldives" and underlined "the importance of respect for democratic institutions and rule of law", the White House said in a statement after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump spoke to each other on the phone Thursday night.

China is already the Maldives' primary source of tourists and is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in an airport expansion, housing development and other projects. Patel is a British citizen of Indian origin and is the South Asia video correspondent for AFP.

While it can not jeopardise the security of its citizens, it also does not want to be seen not backing President Abdulla Yameen who has gone against his government's "India first" policy to reach out to the Chinese.

Almost 1.4 million people visited the Indian Ocean island nation previous year and nearly a third were from China. India said it did not find the dates "suitable" for the visit of the Maldivian foreign minister as special envoy to New Delhi.

Despite the strong economic ties Beijing has built with Male, Dhruva Jaishankar, a foreign policy expert at Brookings India, said the Maldives was still "dependent on India for a number of things, such as medical access, education and humanitarian support".

The Opposition parties in Maldives are seeking an Indian intervention along with the global community to restore democracy, while China in what is seen as a veiled warning to New Delhi indicated that India should stay clear of Maldives" "internal problems'. The exiled President Mohamed Nasheed asserted on Twitter said, "Maldivians see India's role positively: in (19) 88 they (Indian forces) came, resolved the crisis, and left".

"We await the convenience" of the government of India, he added.

Abdulla Yameen left out key regional power India, which had joined Britain, the United States and the United Nations in calling for the lifting of the emergency and the freeing of two Supreme Court judges, whose ruling against Yameen sparked new instability.

He called for his client's immediate release. The Press Trust of India reported that as the emergency in Maldives continues, India is expected to follow a standard operating procedure of keeping troops in a state of readiness.

"The suspension of several functions of the judiciary and parliament, and the restrictions on a series of constitutional rights, create a unsafe concentration of power in the hands of the president", UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a statement release by his office.

"We are disturbed by the declaration of a state of emergency in the Maldives, following the refusal of the government to abide by the unanimous ruling of the full bench of the Supreme Court on 1 February, and also by the suspension of constitutional rights", its foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

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