In an attempt to revive its strained relations with Maldives, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to attend the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on November 17. This will be Modi’s first visit to the Maldives, after assuming office. In March his visit was cancelled owing to the volatile political situation in that country.
Confirming Modi’s visit, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accepted Maldives President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s invitation to attend the swearing-in ceremony on November 17,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. PM’s official advance teams have already reached Male to begin preparations for his visit. The swearing-in ceremony is scheduled to take place at the national stadium in Male.
Solih had invited Modi to his swearing-in on September 24, after the PM had called him to congratulate on his victory. During the telephonic conversation, Modi conveyed his good wishes for the strengthening of democracy, peace and prosperity in the country. Solih said the two leaders agreed to work closely together to further strengthen the close, friendly and good neighbourly relations between the two countries.
Modi’s acceptance of the invitation shows that India is willing to reverse the strain in relations that had crept in under the outgoing administration of President Abdulla Yameen, who was seen cosying up to China. A string of decisions by Yameen – asking India to take back two of its Army choppers, placing curbs on work visas for Indians and signing of a new Free Trade Agreement with Beijing – saw relations nosedive further.