The External Affairs Ministry on Friday announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accepted Maldives President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s invitation to attend the swearing-in ceremony which will be held on November 17 in the capital city of Male. Interestingly, this will be Modi’s first visit to the Maldives ever since assuming charge of Prime Ministership as his previously scheduled visit to the country in 2015 was cancelled due to the political turmoil that had engrossed Maldives.
While speaking to media, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar confirmed that PM Modi will finally make the Maldives visit on November 17 in order to attend the oath-taking ceremony of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih as the President of Maldives. Reportedly, Indian officials have already reached Male to look after the arrangements that are to be made ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit.
Earlier in September, PM Modi had given a congratulatory telephone call to Solih for getting elected as the President of Maldives. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spearhead gave Solih his best wishes and also talked about prosperous and peaceful relations between the two countries. Reportedly, the two leaders have agreed to work closely in order to strengthen and maintain good neighbourly relations.
The new-found bonhomie between the two leaders strongly hints at changing ties between India and Maldives. In previous Maldives’ president Abdulla Yameen regime, ties between the two countries got severely strained after Yameen asked India to remove its two choppers from Maldivian territory, imposed restrictions on work visas for Indians and signed a new Free Trade Agreement with China.
However, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stressed after his recent victory that he intends to establish strong bilateral ties with India once he assumes power.