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'India trip has been a success for Maldives': President Muizzu as he bats for strong bilateral ties

Muizzu was one of the distinguished foreign leaders who attended PM Modi's glittering swearing-in ceremony on Sunday after strained ties between India and the Maldives. The pro-China Maldives President had ordered the expulsion of Indian troops from his country.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Male Updated on: June 11, 2024 20:09 IST
PM Narendra Modi with Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu.
Image Source : PTI PM Narendra Modi with Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu.

Male: Describing his first official visit to India as a "success", Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu on Tuesday said he hoped that the strong bilateral ties between the two countries will lead to increased prosperity for the Maldivians. Muizzu attended Prime Minister Narendra Modi's oath-taking ceremony after a period of strained ties between the two countries.

"Truly, this trip has been a success for the Maldives! And for the region too! I was delighted to receive the Prime Minister's invitation, and I am equally delighted to have been able to participate in the swearing-in ceremony. I am also really grateful for being able to hold high-level meetings with the Prime Minister, President and Jaishankar (External Affairs Minister)," he said.

"I am confident that strengthened bilateral relations will further boost aspirations for the Maldives in the future. God willing, the strong ties between the two nations will result in increased prosperity for the Maldives and Maldivians alike," he further told the state-run PSM Media.

Earlier in the day, a statement from the Foreign Ministry said here: “The President travelled to India at the invitation of Prime Minister His Excellency Narendra Modi, to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers of the Government of India."

PM Modi was sworn in as prime minister on Sunday for a record consecutive third term. Heads of the states from India's neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean region attended the ceremony. These included Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Nepal PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' and Bhutan's Tshering Tobgay. 

Muizzu's schedule in India

After attending the glittering ceremony where PM Modi took oath for the third consecutive time, Muizzu attended a banquet hosted by President Droupadi Murmu, where they also had a meeting in which they discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation between India and the Maldives.

“She expressed confidence that the island nation will continue on the path of prosperity and development under Muizzu's leadership,” said the Maldivian Foreign Ministry. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also called on Muizzu on Monday, where the former said he was "looking forward to India and Maldives working together closely". 

India-Maldives relations 

The invitation to Muizzu assumes significance as it came amid frosty ties between the two countries. Muizzu rode on an 'India Out' campaign to become President and has strongly pivoted towards China in terms of defence and trade.

The ties between India and the Maldives came under severe strain since November last year when Muizzu, known for his pro-China leanings, took charge as Maldivian president. Within hours of his oath, he had demanded the withdrawal of Indian military personnel from his country. The Indian military personnel were replaced by civilians earlier this month.

The leaders of regional grouping SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries attended Modi's first swearing ceremony when he took the reins as the prime minister after a massive electoral victory for BJP. Leaders of the BIMSTEC countries attended Modi's swearing-in ceremony, in 2019 when he became prime minister for the second consecutive term.

Though the BJP could not get a majority on its own in the polls, the party-led alliance secured 293 seats out of 543. The majority mark in the lower house is 272.

(with inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ | PM Modi sits next to Maldives' Muizzu at Presidential banquet amid strained ties, photo goes viral

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