India on Thursday said the political situation in Maldives is a matter of concern. The Ministry of External Affairs welcomed the island nation’s decision to lift the state of emergency and called upon the Maldives government to ensure early resumption of the political process.

“They [Maldives] have to implement democracy in a real way,” said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar at a press briefing on Thursday. “We expect them to take actions, including freeing political prisoners, the judiciary’s independence.”

Kumar said India hopes Maldives would take these steps in order to maintain its relationship with India. The ministry urged the Maldivian government to allow the democratic institutions, including the judiciary, to function in a fair and transparent manner.

“This will create a conducive environment for the smooth conduct of the elections in the Maldives later this year,” he added.

In March, Maldives President Abdulla Yameen lifted a 45-day state of emergency he imposed on February 5 after the island nation’s Supreme Court reversed criminal convictions against nine of his opponents. On June 14, India reiterated its advice to the Maldives to restore the credibility of the electoral and political process by releasing political prisoners, including former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and former Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed.

The Maldives Parliament on Thursday gave its approval to appoint Supreme Court judge Ahmed Abdulla Didi to the vacant position of Chief Justice.