Male: Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the swearing-in ceremony of new Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Saturday. Modi was the senior-most foreign leader to attend the ceremony in the Indian Ocean archipelago nation that went through immense political turmoil under former President Abdulla Yameen. Also Read - Is it Enough to Light Diyas For 9 Mins? Here's What Shashi Tharoor Has to Say
Solih, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s candidate, emerged victorious over Yameen. His term is expected to continue until 2023. He is the seventh President of the Maldives and the third to be elected under the country’s new Constitution. Also Read - PM Narendra Modi Seeks Support of India's Sports Heroes in COVID-19 Battle; Stars Promise to do Their Bit
The island nation’s relations with India became strained during Yameen’s rule, with tensions peaking after New Delhi criticised Male’s refusal to enforce a Supreme Court ruling quashing the convictions of nine opposition figures, among them former President Mohamed Nasheed, who had gone into exile. Nasheed returned to his country following Solih’s election. Also Read - PM Narendra Modi Reaffirmed my Belief That we Can’t Let Our Guard Down After April 14 Lockdown: Sachin Tendulkar
During the swearing-in ceremony, Nasheed sat beside Modi and the two were seen chatting animatedly. Former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunge was also sitting along with them. Under Nasheed, relations between India and the atoll nation had improved greatly.
Former President Yameen was seen as anti-India and pro-China while new President Solih is perceived to be pro-India. Following his victory in the Maldives presidential election in September, Solih invited Modi to attend his swearing-in ceremony during a telephonic conversation.
Earlier in the day, Modi was accorded a red carpet welcome on his arrival with the Speaker of the Maldives Parliament, Qasim Ibrahim, receiving him at the airport.