Amid Strained Ties, India Plans Great Grand Welcome For Maldives President

By manish198832 Jun8,2024

Amid Strained Ties, India Plans

Amid-New Delhi: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi gears up for his historic third-term swearing-in ceremony on Sunday, New Delhi is preparing an impressive welcome for the attending South Asian leaders. Among the prominent attendees is Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, whose relationship with India has been under scrutiny since his assumption of office in November last year.

Amid-President Muizzu’s election campaign was marked by strong rhetoric against India, often criticizing the presence of Indian military personnel in the Maldives and calling for their complete withdrawal. This stance led to the eventual replacement of Indian armed forces in the Maldives with civilian counterparts, further straining diplomatic ties between the two nations.

Amid-Despite these tensions, India extended an olive branch by inviting President Muizzu to attend PM Modi’s swearing-in ceremony. In response, President Muizzu expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Modi for the invitation, indicating his honor at being part of this significant event.

Amid-“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,” an official release highlighted.

Amid-This visit marks President Muizzu’s first official trip to India since taking office on November 17 last year. Unlike his predecessors, who traditionally made New Delhi their first foreign visit after assuming office, President Muizzu chose Turkey and subsequently China for his initial state visits, signaling a shift in the Maldives’ foreign policy orientation.

Amid-In anticipation of his arrival, New Delhi has adorned the city with banners and posters. A prominent banner outside the Foreign Ministry features both PM Modi and President Muizzu, symbolizing the significance of this visit. Similar posters showcasing PM Modi alongside other Asian leaders attending the event have been strategically placed across the city.

Amid-The swearing-in ceremony is not just a domestic milestone for India but also a diplomatic event of considerable importance. Leaders from neighboring countries such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Mauritius, and Seychelles are also expected to attend. This gathering underscores India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, aimed at fostering closer ties with its South Asian neighbors.

The strained relations between India and the Maldives are rooted in a complex geopolitical landscape. Under President Muizzu’s leadership, the Maldives has shown an inclination towards enhancing its relationship with China, a move that has caused unease in New Delhi. India’s strategic interests in the Indian Ocean region and its long-standing influence in the Maldives have been challenged by this shift.

However, the invitation extended to President Muizzu signifies India’s intent to maintain a constructive engagement with the Maldives, despite the recent diplomatic hiccups. It highlights India’s willingness to address contentious issues through dialogue and to reaffirm its role as a pivotal partner in the region.

For President Muizzu, attending PM Modi’s swearing-in ceremony offers an opportunity to reset the narrative and to potentially recalibrate his country’s foreign policy stance. His presence at the ceremony could pave the way for renewed diplomatic efforts aimed at bridging the gap between the two nations.

As the leaders prepare to meet, the focus will be on finding common ground and exploring avenues for cooperation. Economic ties, security collaboration, and cultural exchanges are likely to be key discussion points. Both nations have a shared interest in ensuring stability and prosperity in the Indian Ocean region, which could serve as a foundation for rebuilding trust and partnership.

India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, which emphasizes prioritizing relations with neighboring countries, has been a cornerstone of PM Modi’s foreign policy agenda. This policy has seen India actively engaging with its neighbors through high-level visits, infrastructure projects, and humanitarian assistance. The inclusion of Maldives President Muizzu in the swearing-in ceremony is a testament to this policy’s significance and India’s commitment to fostering regional unity.

As New Delhi prepares for the grand event, the city’s preparations reflect the importance of this diplomatic gathering. Security has been heightened, and cultural programs have been organized to showcase India’s rich heritage. The swearing-in ceremony will not only mark the beginning of PM Modi’s third term but also serve as a platform for reinforcing India’s diplomatic ties with its South Asian neighbors.

In conclusion, the attendance of Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu at PM Modi’s swearing-in ceremony is a significant diplomatic gesture amidst strained relations. It offers a chance for both nations to engage in constructive dialogue and to explore opportunities for strengthening their bilateral relationship. As India continues to prioritize its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, the event underscores the importance of regional unity and collaboration in achieving shared goals and addressing common challenges.

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