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'Would be honoured': Maldives President Muizzu on attending PM Modi's swearing-in ceremony amid frosty ties

This would be Muizzu's first visit to India after the recent months witnessed a strained in the relations between India and the Maldives. Muizzu had demanded the expulsion of Indian troops from the island nation, which was completed ahead of the May 10 deadline set by the Maldivian President.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Male Updated on: June 08, 2024 12:23 IST
Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu with PM Narendra Modi.
Image Source : PTI (FILE) Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu with PM Narendra Modi.

Male: Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, who will be one of the leaders attending Prime Minister Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony in New Delhi on Sunday (June 9) to mark his historic third term, said he would be honoured to join the event and his first visit to India would demonstrate that bilateral relations between the two countries are heading in a positive direction. India-Maldives ties became strained after Muizzu demanded the expulsion of Indian troops from the archipelago nation.

Modi will be administered the oath of office on Sunday, his third consecutive term as Prime Minister. Several leaders from South Asian countries, including Maldives, had been invited to join the occasion and Muizzu had accepted the invitation, according to his office. India's Higher Commissioner to the Maldives, Munu Mahawar, presented the letter of invitation to Muizzu during a courtesy call.

At the call, the High Commissioner extended greetings from PM Modi, stating that the Prime Minister is looking forward to having the President attend this momentous ceremony marking his third swearing-in as Prime Minister of India. The Maldivian President expressed his gratitude to the Prime Minister for the invitation, adding that he would be honoured to attend this historic event. Muizzu's office, however, did not disclose when would he be leaving for India.

Local media reports earlier said Muizzu had accepted the invitation to attend PM Modi's oath-taking ceremony and will be accompanied by several other government officials. He had earlier congratulated the Indian PM and said he looked forward to working with the Indian leader to advance the bilateral ties. 

“Congratulations to Prime Minister @narendramodi and the BJP and BJP-led NDA, on the success in the 2024 Indian General Election, for the third consecutive term. I look forward to working together to advance our shared interests in pursuit of shared prosperity and stability for our two countries," Muizzu said on PM Modi's re-election. In response, the Indian Prime Minister said that the Maldives was India's valued partner and neighbour in the Indian Ocean Region and pledged to strengthen bilateral ties.

India-Maldives tensions

Muizzu's visit amid a downturn in the bilateral ties between the two countries since President Muizzu assumed office in November and immediately asked India to withdraw its military personnel from the country by May 10. The Indian military personnel were operating three aviation platforms in the island nation. Zameer on Saturday said 76 Indian military personnel were replaced by civilian employees of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited which manufactured the two helicopters gifted by India.

Two helicopters and a Dornier aircraft donated by India have been used for hundreds of medical evacuations and humanitarian missions in the Maldives. According to the agreement with the Maldives, when the military personnel were sent back, India replaced them with civilians to keep the operations of the three aviation platforms going.

Muizzu's foreign policy is strongly pivoting towards China with Muizzu travelling to Beijing in January and meeting top Chinese leaders, including President Xi Jinping. His government has also signed a defence agreement with the Chinese military under which the People's Liberation Army will assist the Maldivian security and defence forces.

Who is coming to PM Modi's oath-taking ceremony?

The leaders who will attend PM Modi's swearing-in ceremony include Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina, Mauritian PM Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Nepal PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, Bhutan PM Tshering Tobgay and Seychelles Vice-President Ahmed Afif, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.

Officials said special arrangements have also been made for the visit of foreign dignitaries attending the swearing-in ceremony, including enhanced protocols at three designated hotels where the dignitaries will be staying. Moreover, in addition to on-ground security, Delhi Police has issued a public advisory announcing a No-Fly Zone over the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi for two days.

(with PTI inputs)

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