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Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended swearing-in ceremony of newly-elected Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih

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Male. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday attended the swearing-in ceremony of the newly-elected Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, a step which is seen as an attempt to mend bilateral ties which nosedived under the outgoing Abdulla Yameen government. This is Modi’s first visit to the country as Prime Minister.

On arrival in the Maldivian capital, the PM was given a red carpet welcome and was received by Maldives Parliament Speaker Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed.

During the function, Modi was sitting beside former Maldivian presidents Mohamed Nasheed and Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Modi also interacted with leaders from the Maldives and other parts of the world.

Former Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaratunga also attended the ceremony. Thousands of people cheered Solih, from the Maldivian Democratic Party, at the ceremony in a soccer stadium chosen to accommodate a large number of his supporters.

On Friday, PM Modi took to Twitter to inform that he will be attending the inauguration ceremony of Maldives President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. “I will be in Malé tomorrow to attend the historic Inauguration Ceremony of the President-elect H.E. Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. I warmly congratulate him on his victory in the recent elections and wish him the very best for his tenure,” he said.

Expressing his desire to see a stable and democratic government in Male, the PM had earlier said, “Recent elections in The Maldives represent the collective aspirations of the people for democracy, rule of law and a prosperous future. We in India strongly desire to see a stable, democratic, prosperous and peaceful Republic of Maldives.”

Ties between India and the Maldives came under strain under Yameen who was perceived to be close to China. Some decisions by Yameen, including the imposition of restrictions on work visas for Indians and signing of a new Free Trade Agreement with Beijing, also did not go down well with New Delhi.

The relations deteriorated further after Yameen imposed emergency on February 5 this year. India had criticised his decision and asked his government to restore the credibility of the electoral and political process by releasing political prisoners. The emergency lasted for 45 days.

The Presidential elections in Male were held on September 23 in which joint opposition leader Solih defeated Yameen.

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