Prime Min­is­ter to at­tend swear­ing-in of Mal­dives pres­i­dent Ibrahim Solih

The New Indian Express - - INDIA -

PRIME Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi will travel to Male on Novem­ber 17 to at­tend the swear­ing-in cer­e­mony of pres­i­dent Ibrahim Mo­hamed Solih. This will be his first visit to the Mal­dives since as­sum­ing of­fice.

Re­la­tions be­tween the na­tions had nose­dived dur­ing the regime of out­go­ing Pres­i­dent Ab­dulla Yameen, who re­peat­edly snubbed In­dia and wooed Chi­nese in­vest­ment and sup­port. The grow­ing Chi­nese in­flu­ence in the coun­try, barely 700 km from In­dia's south­ern tip, caused much con­ster­na­tion in New Delhi, which, de­spite op­po­si­tion ap­peals for greater in­volve­ment, pre­ferred to wait and watch.

The re­la­tions de­te­ri­o­rated fur­ther af­ter Yameen im­posed emer­gency in Fe­bru­ary 5 this year, and launched a crackdown on op­po­si­tion lead­ers and ju­di­ciary. But apart from call­ing for the restora­tion of democ­racy, New Delhi re­fused the Mal­di­vian op­po­si­tion's calls for grater in­volve­ment. Yameen lifted the emer­gency af­ter 45 days, and Pres­i­den­tial elec­tions were held on Septem­ber 23 in which joint op­po­si­tion leader Ibrahim Mo­hamed Solih de­feated Yameen, cap­ping months of po­lit­i­cal up­heaval in the tiny ar­chi­pel­ago na­tion.

Say­ing this is not a bi­lat­eral visit, Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­istry spokesper­son Raveesh Ku­mar said, "In­dia looks for­ward to closely work­ing with Mal­dives in deep­en­ing the part­ner­ship."

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