The Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan has called on the Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to resolve the issue of Maldivian authorities holding up work permits for Indian citizens.
Indian media ‘Financial Express’ reported Saturday that Vijayan had sent a letter to Swaraj stating that over 30,000 Indians, most of whom from Kerala, were working in various fields in the Maldives including education, health and tourism.
He had said that the news had caused much anxiety to the people of his state.
Vijayan sought India’s top diplomat’s immediate intervention in the matter, saying that it was a matter of national interest.
He had also noted that Indian citizens were previously able to acquire a work permit in less than a week.
He speculated that Maldivian authorities might be denying work permits due to political reasons.
The President of Indian National Congress (INC) Rahul Gandhi had also raised the work permit issue in a Tweet Thursday, blaming Indian foreign policy for the matter.
“Maldives, once one of our closest allies and beneficiaries of massive aid, is cancelling Indian work visas and putting ‘Not Hiring Indians’ sign,” he had said.
While India has been cautious about Maldives’ growing economic ties with China, the relationship between Maldives and its oldest ally worsened recently when the Indian government criticised President Abdulla Yameen’s decision to enforce a state of emergency, and called on the Maldivian authorities to enforce the Supreme Court ruling on February 1, which ordered the release of all political prisoners.