Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Male on Saturday to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Maldives President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who surprisingly defeated strongman Abdulla Yameen in September.
This is Modi’s first visit to the Maldives as prime minister. The last visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the Indian Ocean island nation was by Manmohan Singh in 2011.
“I will convey to the new Maldivian Government of Mr Solih the desire of the Indian Government to work closely for realisation of their developmental priorities, especially in areas of infrastructure, health care, connectivity & human resource development,” Modi said in a series of tweets ahead of the visit.
He said the recent elections in the Maldives represent the collective aspirations of the people for democracy, rule of law and a prosperous future.
“We in India strongly desire to see a stable, democratic, prosperous and peaceful Republic of Maldives,” the prime minister said.
Modi also congratulated Solih on his victory in the recent elections and wished him “the very best for his tenure”.
“India and the Maldives share a strong partnership rooted in history, strong bonds between our peoples, and their shared aspiration for peace and prosperity. My Government’s vision of inclusive development Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas’ extends to all our neighbours too,” he said.
Modi also said he will convey to Solih his wish to work with the new Maldives government in different areas to boost bilateral ties.
Solih, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s candidate who surprisingly emerged victorious over incumbent president Yameen in the election held on September 23, had extended the invitation during a phone call by Modi.