Prime Minister Modi to attend swearing-in of Maldivian President-elect Ibrahim Solih


On his first visit as Prime Minister, Narendra Modi will travel to Male on Nov. 17 to attend the inauguration ceremony of the new president of the Maldives, indicating an attempt to restore bilateral relations under the outgoing government Abdulla Yameen .

The spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs, Raveesh Kumar, announced that the Prime Minister had accepted the invitation of President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to attend the ceremony "with pleasure".

Mr. Kumar, however, said that it was not a "bilateral visit".

"In line with its neighborhood policy above all, India looks forward to working closely with the Maldives to further deepen the partnership," said Kumar.

Relations between India and the Maldives were severely tested by Yameen, who was perceived as close to China. Some of Yameen's decisions, including restrictions on working visas for Indians and the signing of a new free trade agreement with Beijing, did not work well in New Delhi.

Relationships further deteriorated after Mr Yameen imposed an emergency on February 5 this year. India had criticized its decision and called on its government to restore the credibility of the electoral and political process by releasing political prisoners. The emergency lasted 45 days.

The presidential elections were held in the Maldives on September 23, during which opposition leader Solih beat Yameen, putting an end to months of political upheaval in the tourism paradise.

The Maldives is an important country for India's maritime security and its growing influence on China's growing influence over the last few years.

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