New Delhi, November 9: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the swearing-in ceremony of Maldives President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, confirmed the Ministry of External Affairs on Friday. The oath-taking event is scheduled in Male on November 17.
Solih, the leader of Maldivian Democratic Party, emerged an unexpected winner in the electoral contest against strongman Abdulla Yameen, under whose tenure the ties between Male and New Delhi had deteriorated. Maldives Votes Out Pro-China President Abdulla Yameen: List of Strongmen Defeated Across the World in Recent Past.
Shortly after his victory in September, Solih had a telephonic conversation with PM Modi, assuring him of deepening the bilateral ties with India. During the call, the President-elect had appealed the Indian Prime Minister to attend his oath-taking ceremony.
Analysts had, however, predicted that Modi would be turning down the invite, as his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan would also be in attendance. Even a brief interaction with Khan on sidelines of the event could draw the Prime Minister flak in a crucial election year.
PM Narendra Modi has accepted Maldives President Elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's invitation to attend the swearing-in ceremony on November 17: Raveesh Kumar, MEA pic.twitter.com/Z2kauGbJdW
— ANI (@ANI) November 9, 2018
Under Abdulla Yameen, the ties between India and Maldives had plunged to a historic low, as New Delhi had condemned the action taken by his regime against the Supreme Court judges who had quashed the convictions of nine Opposition leaders, including former president Mohamed Nasheed.
On the other hand, Chine's involvement in Maldives and Indian Ocean had grown by multitudes during Yameen's rule. This was perceived as a major strategic setback for India.
The shock election results delivered by the Maldives electorate on September 23 turned things upside down, with New Delhi eyeing a major opportunity to smoothen relations with the southern neighbour.