'India is a close and dependable friend', says Maldivian President
New Delhi, May 14 (ANI): Maldivian President Dr. Mohammed Waheed on Monday said India is a close friend, and added that the leadership in New Delhi has assured him of their continued support.
"It's (India) a special friend who we can depend on in good times and bad times alike. During my visit I have met with senior leadership in this country, they have assured me of their continued support for Maldives. I have assured them of our continued good relationship with India," he said.
Dr. Waheed met Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh here earlier on May 12, and discussed various pending issues of development, security and stability.
He also said that the Indian Government would not put any pressure on Maldives and the election commission would decide the election schedule.
"Indian Government is not pushing us to do anything that is against our constitution. So, ultimately the decision to hold the election on such a date is not the decision of the president. We have an independent election commission, that is appointed by the parliament and it will be the chairman of the commission who will decide when that will be," Dr. Waheed said.
Meanwhile, he declared that the situation in Maldives was better than before, and the common man had complete freedom.
Dr. Waheed said that the media was also free of government control.
"Maldives today is more democratic than it has ever been and I will explain why. Today, we have a functioning parliament that has so many political parties in it. We have a completely free society in which the basic fundamental freedoms like assembly, expression all of this exists. When I assumed office, I handed over the state television and state radio over to the public broadcasting corporation, company created by our parliament," said Dr. Waheed.
" So, today for the first time in Maldives, the government does not control or have a radio or television station, does not have a newspaper, and we compete with everybody else in the free media that exists in Maldives," he added.
Dr. Waheed assumed the office of the President of the Republic of Maldives in February 2012. (ANI)
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