Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Maldives on November 17, his first visit to the country as PM. PM Modi is also likely to attend the swearing in ceremony of the president-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. Modi's visit indicates the broader attempts made by the government to mend the India-Maldives bilateral ties which nosedived during the outgoing Abdulla Yameen government.
Announcing Modi's day-long visit, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the prime minister has accepted president-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih invitation to attend the ceremony "with pleasure". Kumar, however, made it clear that it is not a "bilateral visit".
PM Modi one of my most dependable friends, together with him I would like to bolster India-Japan ties: Shinzo Abe
"In keeping with its neighbourhood first policy, India looks forward to closely working with Maldives in further deepening the partnership," Kumar said.
India-Maldives ties came under strain under Yameen who was perceived to be close to China. Some decisions by Yameen including 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 of India and Maldives deteriorated after Prime Minister Narendra Modi cancelled his visit to the archipelago in March 2015, citing political unrest.
India's ties with the Maldives hit rock bottom after President Yameen declared Emergency in the country on February 5, following an order by the country's Supreme Court to release a group of Opposition leaders, who had been convicted in widely criticised trials.
India had criticised the Yameen government for the imposition of the Emergency and urged it to restore the credibility of the electoral and political process by releasing political prisoners.
The Emergency was lifted 45 days later.
In July, India expressed concern over announcement of the presidential election without allowing democratic institutions, including Parliament and the judiciary, to work in a free and transparent manner.
Presidential elections were held in Maldives on September 23 in which joint opposition leader Solih defeated Yameen, capping months of political upheaval in the tourist paradise.
Maldives is an important country for India's maritime security and there have been concerns in India over China's growing influence over the country in last few years.