Maldives likely to be PM Modi’s first destination for bilateral visit after poll victory

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New Delhi | Published: May 26, 2019 5:42:44 PM

The relations between India and the Maldives deteriorated after the then President Abdulla Yameen imposed emergency on February 5 last year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi address following a meeting with President Ramnath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to travel to the Maldives early next month, in his first bilateral visit after retaining power in the Lok Sabha polls, according to diplomatic sources and Maldivian media reports.

Bhutan was the first country Modi had visited in 2014 after becoming prime minister.

Diplomatic sources said the prime minister is expected to travel to Male in the first half of June, while the Maldivian media reported that the visit will take place between June 7-8.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited the Maldives in March, the first full-fledged bilateral trip from India to the island nation after the government of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih came to power in November last year.

Modi visited the Maldives in November to attend Solih’s swearing-in ceremony, signalling the importance India attaches to the island nation, where China has been trying to expand its influence.

Last week, Solih congratulated Modi for his “resounding electoral victory”.

The relations between India and the Maldives deteriorated after the then President Abdulla Yameen imposed emergency on February 5 last year.

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 had lasted for 45 days.

Solih became president in November after he defeated Yameen in the presidential polls.

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