Mohamed Muizzu discussed ways to strengthen bilateral ties on first official India visit: Maldives Foreign Ministry

Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu discussed ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation with India on his first official visit to the country, the foreign ministry said here on Tuesday.

Muizzu, known for his pro-China leanings, was in India for the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Council of Ministers.

Modi was sworn in as prime minister on Sunday for a record-equalling third term, heading the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

Top leaders from India's neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean region, including Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda', Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mauritius President Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, attended the ceremony.

Muizzu concluded his official visit and arrived back in Male on Tuesday morning, according to the Foreign Ministry 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," the ministry said in a statement.

"During the visit, President Dr Muizzu attended a banquet hosted by the President of India, Her Excellency Droupadi Murmu, in honour of the visiting dignitaries," it said.

"The two Presidents also had a meeting in which they discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation between the Maldives and India," it said.

During the meeting, President Murmu conveyed her greetings to the new government and the people of Maldives. She expressed confidence that the island nation will continue on the path of prosperity and development under Muizzu's leadership.

"Both leaders noted the longstanding and multifaceted ties between two countries and highlighted important pillars of our wide-ranging bilateral cooperation including people-to-people linkages, capacity building cooperation, economic and trade relations and development cooperation," a statement by the President's Secretariat in New Delhi said.

Murmu expressed hope that India-Maldives relations will continue to strengthen in the years to come.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also called on Muizzu.

"Delighted to call on President Dr Mohamed Muizzu of Maldives today in New Delhi. Look forward to India and Maldives working together closely," Jaishankar said in a post on X.

Muizzu was accompanied by a high-level delegation of the government, according to the foreign ministry statement.

"This marks his first visit to India since the assumption of office on November 17, 2023," it said.

Unlike his predecessors, who made the first port of call to New Delhi after assuming office, Muizzu had travelled to Turkiye first and to China for his first state visit in January.

The ties between India and the Maldives came under severe strain since Muizzu, known for his pro-China leanings, took charge of the top office.

Within hours of his oath, he had demanded the withdrawal of all Indian military personnel operating three aviation platforms from his country. The Indian military personnel were replaced by Indian civilians last month.


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