"India welcomes the holding of presidential elections in the Maldives on Sep 7, 2013. We attach importance to the holding of free, fair and credible elections in a peaceful environment followed by a smooth transition," ministry of external affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said in a statement.
A high-level team of observers consisting of former chief election commissioners of India J.M. Lyngdoh, B.B. Tandon and N. Gopala Swami, along with former envoy to the island nation S.M. Gavai, is being sent for the presidential elections in Maldives, he said.
The observers will reach Male on Sep 1 and would undertake visits to a number of polling stations on different islands, he added.
According to the MEA spokesperson, India 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 elections.
Several Maldivian political leaders including President Mohamed Waheed (May 2012), former presidents Mohamed Nasheed (August 2013) and Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (June 2013) and Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen (August 2013) have visited India.
In addition, India had also received this year delegations led by the Chief Justice of Maldives Ahmed Faiz Hussain in June; Speaker of People's Majlis Abdulla Shahid in May; and Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim in April.
Stating that "India is committed to strengthening the institutions of democracy in the Maldives", the spokesperson said "the Election Commission of India is working closely with the Elections Commission of Maldives to further strengthen its capacity".
Training of Maldivian judges in India is also being arranged, he 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," said the spokesperson.
--IANS (Posted on 30-08-2013)