In Male, Delhi expects due process
Some hours after a Singapore court ruled on Thursday that the Maldives government can take back Male international airport from GMR, New Delhi emphasised that “fulfilment of legal processes and requirements is what we would like to see in this case”.
The response came from external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, who said, “We hope that all relevant contracts and agreements would be adhered to and the legal processes that are required to fulfil them are carried through.”
The Singapore court ruling comes after the Maldives government issued a notice to GMR on November 27 to cease operations. Masood Imad, the press secretary to Maldives President Mohammed Waheed, was quoted by agencies as saying on Thursday that “Maldives will go ahead with the transfer as scheduled.” The action by the Maldives government has led to bilateral ties between New Delhi and Male taking a nose-dive. While India had been pressing for negotiations on the GMR-airport issue and Maldives had appea-red to be inclined to this, the decision of the Waheed government to terminate the GMR contract has both angered and surprised New Delhi. The GMR group reacted to the court order saying, “We are still studying the oral order passed by the honourable Singapore court of appea-ls. We would be able to co-mment only after studying the final written order.”
“We have had no discussion with the government regarding handover of the (Male) airport,” it said.
Mr Akbaruddin noted that while the Singapore court had ruled on the issue of whether a state can take over property, other issues remain. He said, “Those deal with issues regarding the legality of the agreement and whether it was ab initio valid or not. And linked with that are issues related to the compensation of the other party, i.e. GMR and its associate in Malaysia, are entitled to.”h the external affairs ministry and the Indian high commission in Maldives are studying the judgment, he said.