New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to the Maldives Saturday to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the new Maldivian president. The step indicates an attempt to mend bilateral ties, which nosedived under the outgoing Abdulla Yameen government. This will be Modi’s first visit to the country as Prime Minister.
PM Modi Friday 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 Prime Minister 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.”
“India and The Maldives share a strong partnership rooted in history, strong bonds between our peoples, and their shared aspiration for peace and prosperity. My Government’s vision of inclusive development ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas’ extends to all our neighbours too,” he said.
PM Modi also said he will convey to Solih his wish to work with the new Maldives government in different areas to boost ties. “I will convey to the new Maldivian Government of Mr. Solih the desire of the Indian Government to work closely for the realisation of their developmental priorities, especially in areas of infrastructure, health care, connectivity & human resource development,” he said adding that he is confident that his visit will herald a new era of even closer exchanges and cooperation between the two countries.
PM Modi had recently accepted the invitation extended by Solih to attend his swearing-in ceremony. Announcing Modi’s daylong visit last week, Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said the PM has accepted president-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s invitation to attend the ceremony. He, however, made it clear that it is not a “bilateral visit”.
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.