India yet to decide on Modi’s presence at pro-China Maldives president’s oath-taking
New Delhi recently said it was looking forward to engaging “constructively” with the incoming administration of Muizzu, days after he said moving the Indian military personnel out of the island-nation was one of his top priorities.
(L-R) Maldives incoming president Mohamed Muizzu (Photo by MOHAMED AFRAH/AFP via Getty Images) and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
THE Maldives has invited Indian prime minister Narendra Modi for the oath-taking ceremony of its incoming president Mohamed Muizzu next week, but New Delhi is yet to take a call on the level of its representation at the ceremony, its ministry of external affairs (MEA) said on Thursday (9).
Widely seen as a pro-China leader, the 45-year-old Muizzu is set to take charge as the Maldivian president on November 17.
“We have received the invitation for the prime minister to attend that (oath-taking ceremony). I will let you know once we have a decision on who will represent us and in what capacity,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
“As of now, we do not have any further information to share on that,” he added.
Last month, India said it was looking forward to engaging “constructively” with the incoming administration of Muizzu, days after he said moving the Indian military personnel out of the island-nation was one of his top priorities.
Muizzu defeated incumbent president Ibrahim Solih, known to be India friendly, in the presidential runoff in September.
The Maldives is one of India’s key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean region and the overall bilateral ties, including in the areas of defence and security, have been on an upward trajectory in the last few years.
Solih was consistently focusing on boosting ties with India and pursuing an “India First” policy.
In May, Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh visited the Maldives and handed over a fast patrol vessel and a landing craft to the island nation.
In August last year, Modi and Solih kick-started the India-funded Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP), billed as the largest infrastructure initiative in the Maldives. Under the GMCP, a 6.74-kilometre-long bridge and causeway link will be built to connect Maldivian capital Male with the adjoining islands of Villingli, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi.
(With PTI inputs)