Amid Strained Ties, India Plans Grand Welcome For Maldives President Attending PM Modi Swearing In

Amid Strained Ties, India Plans Grand Welcome For Maldives President

New Delhi:

New Delhi is preparing a grand welcome for all the South Asian leaders who will attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony on Sunday. PM Modi will take oath for a record third term on Sunday, and several heads of state will attend the ceremony, including Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu.

Relations between India and Maldives have deteriorated since Muizzu assumed office in November last year. During his election campaign, he often criticised India and demanded a complete withdrawal of Indian military personnel.

All Indian armed forces have left the nation and have now been replaced by civilians.

But India extended an olive branch inviting him to the swearing-in ceremony of PM Modi. President Muizzu expressed his gratitude to PM Modi for the invitation, adding that he would be honoured to attend this historic event.

“He also stated that he looks forward to working with the Prime Minister to further strengthen the close relations with India, noting that Maldives-India relations are heading in the positive direction, as would be demonstrated by this visit,” the official release said.

This will mark the pro-China president’s first official visit to India since assuming office on November 17 last year. Unlike his predecessors, who made the first port of call to New Delhi after assuming office, Muizzu had travelled to Turkey first and to China for his first state visit in January.

Ahead of his arrival in Delhi, a huge banner has been put up outside the Foreign Ministry which features both PM Modi and Muizzu.

Posters of PM Modi with other Asian leaders attending the event have also been put up across Delhi. The swearing-in ceremony is expected to witness the presence of leaders from neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Mauritius, and Seychelles, in addition to the Maldives, as part of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.

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