Male, Nov 18:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday invited new Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to India during their meeting here and the island nation’s foreign minister will visit New Delhi on November 26 to prepare for the State Visit.
Prime Minister Modi, who was on a day-long visit to Maldivies, held productive talks with Solih after attending his swearing-in ceremony.
“Prime minister Modi extended an invitation to President Solih to make a State Visit to India at his earliest convenience. President Solih accepted the invitation with pleasure,” Ministry of External Affairs said.
“The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives will make an official visit to India on November 26 to hold further discussions and to prepare for the forthcoming State Visit of President Solih to India,” it said in a statement.
During the meeting, President Solih also expressed hope that Prime Minister Modi will make an official visit to the Maldives in the near future, the statement said, adding that Modi “gratefully” accepted the invitation.
The Prime Minister also interacted with leaders from the Maldives and other parts of the world during the oath taking ceremony.
Modi, who was on the first visit to the Maldives as prime minister, was accorded a red carpet welcome.
Solih, 54, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s candidate, surprisingly defeated strongman Abdulla Yameen in the election held on September 23.
The ties between India and the Maldives came under strain under Yameen who was perceived to be close to China. Some decisions by Yameen including imposition of restrictions on work visas for Indians and signing of a new Free Trade Agreement with Beijing also did not go down well with New Delhi.
Relations between India and the Maldives deteriorated further after Yameen imposed emergency on February 5.
India had criticised his decision and asked his government to restore the credibility of the electoral and political process by releasing political prisoners.The emergency lasted for 45 days.