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  4. PM Modi wishes Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu on Eid-ul-Fitr amid frosty relations

PM Modi wishes Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu on Eid-ul-Fitr amid frosty relations

PM Modi's greetings to Muizzu comes as the two countries are experiencing strained ties over the latter's decision to expel Indian military personnel from the archipelago nation. Several Muslim countries are celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr on Wednesday, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Male Published on: April 10, 2024 20:43 IST
India, PM Modi, Maldives, Mohamed Muizzu, Eid ul Fitr
Image Source : INDIA IN MALDIVES (X) Prime Minister Narendra Modi last met with Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu at the COP28 Summit in Dubai

Male: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday extended his greetings to Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, the government and the people of the archipelago nation on the occasion of the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Fitr, said the Indian High Commission of Maldives. The interaction comes at a time when relations between India and the Maldives are strained due to Muizzu's pivot towards China.

According to a statement by the Indian High Commission, PM Modi highlighted the cultural and civilisational linkages shared by India and the Maldives that go back in time. "Prime Minister further conveyed that as we celebrate Eid Al Fitr with traditional fervour, people across the world are reminded of the values of compassion, brotherhood and togetherness, which are essential in building a peaceful and inclusive world that we all aspire for," it read.

Muslims across the world are celebrating the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday on Wednesday, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, with family reunions, new clothes and sweet treats. India, barring some states like Kerala, will celebrate the festival on Thursday (April 11) as the shawwal crescent moon remained invisible on Tuesday.

The precise date of Eid-ul-Fitr is determined by the Islamic lunar calendar, which is based on the sighting of the crescent moon. Many countries, like Maldives, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Pakistan are celebrating the festival on Wednesday. 

Eid-ul-Fitr holds deep religious and cultural significance in Islam. It commemorates the conclusion of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast from dawn to sunset as an act of worship and reflection. The fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which are the fundamental acts of worship obligatory for all Muslims.

India-Maldives relations

The India-Maldives ties have come under strain as Muizzu, widely seen as a pro-China leader, maintained after assuming charge as the president in November that he will keep his election promise of evicting Indian military personnel from his country. There were 88 Indian military personnel manning three aviation platforms in the Maldives. The first batch of 26 Indian military personnel have been replaced by civilian personnel.

Last week, Muizzu maintained that the Indian military personnel at the second aviation platform would be withdrawn "within the current month" while the entire process would be completed by May 10. He has repeatedly affirmed that no Indian military personnel, not even those in civilian clothing, would be present inside his country after May 10.

The relations further deteriorated when three Maldivian officials made crass comments after Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted photos and videos of the Lakshadweep Islands, resulting in a heavy backlash from Indians, including many celebrities. #BoycottMaldives campaign resulted in a significant decline in Indian tourists to the island nation too.

Since assuming office as the President in November, Muizzu has travelled to Beijing in January and met China's top leadership to cement the Male-Beijing relationship. 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.

Despite this, India has agreed to supply essential commodities to Maldives after the island nation's request. The government will export certain quantities of essential commodities including eggs, potatoes, onions, rice, wheat, flour, sugar, dal, stone aggregate and river sand to Maldives during 2024-2025 under the bilateral trade agreement between the Government of India and the Government of Maldives.

The Maldives is India’s key maritime neighbour in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and occupies a special place in its initiatives like ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and the ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’ of the Modi government.

(with PTI inputs)

ALSO READ | India agrees to supply essential commodities to Maldives under 'unique bilateral mechanism'

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