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Modi to attend Maldives swearing-in

The Maldives is the only country in the sub-continent that Modi has not visited during his four-and-a-half-year stint.
The official confirmation of the trip came on Friday with the foreign office issuing a statement that Modi would make a day-long visit.
The official confirmation of the trip came on Friday with the foreign office issuing a statement that Modi would make a day-long visit.
The Telegraph file picture

Our Special Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 09.11.18, 10:26 PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will make a short visit to the Maldives on November 17 to attend the swearing-in ceremony of President-in-waiting Ibrahim Solih, but no bilateral engagement has been included in the schedule yet.

The Maldives is the only country in the sub-continent that Modi has not visited during his four-and-a-half-year stint.

Although Solih had invited Modi when the Prime Minister called to congratulate him soon after the Maldives decisively voted out the regime of Abdulla Yameen in September-end, it is only this week that the first indications of a formal acceptance emerged when an advance team from India reached the archipelago on Monday to prepare for the visit.

The official confirmation of the trip came on Friday with the foreign office issuing a statement that Modi would make a day-long visit.

“The PM has accepted the invitation with pleasure. In keeping with our ‘neighbourhood-first’ policy, India looks forward to closely work with the Maldives in further deepening our partnership. The PM will return to New Delhi on the same night,” foreign office spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a statement.

New Delhi hopes to rebuild its ties with the Maldives under the new regime after the Yameen dispensation tilted heavily towards China, helping Beijing in the “encirclement” of India.

After Yameen unleashed the full power of the State in February by even arresting Supreme Court judges who had ordered the release of political prisoners, India repeatedly batted for the restoration of democracy and engaged with the Maldivian Opposition.

New Delhi, however, did not pay heed to the plea for direct intervention in a repeat of Operation Cactus when then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had sent in troops to end a coup.



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