On return from first India visit Maldives President Muizzu hopes for strengthened bilateral relations

     Male, Jun 11 (PTI) Describing his first official visit to India as a "success" for the Maldives and the region, President Mohamed Muizzu on Tuesday said, “God willing,” the strong ties between the two countries will lead to increased prosperity for the Maldivians.
     “This trip has been a success for the Maldives and for the region too,” Muizzu, known for his pro-China leanings, told the state-run PSM Media at the end of his first India visit to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his council of ministers.
     Modi was sworn in as prime minister on Sunday for a record consecutive third term. Heads of the states from India's neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean region attended the ceremony. Muizzu said he was delighted to receive Prime Minister Modi’s invitation and “equally delighted” to have attended the event.
     “I am also grateful for being able to hold high-level meetings with the Prime Minister, President (Draupadi Murmu) and S Jaishankar (External Affairs Minister). I am confident that strengthened bilateral relations will further boost aspirations for the Maldives in the future,” he said.
     “God willing, the strong ties between the two nations will result in increased prosperity for the Maldives and Maldivians alike,” Muizzu added.
     Earlier in the day, a statement from the Foreign Ministry said here: “The President travelled to India at the invitation of Prime Minister His Excellency Narendra Modi, to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers of the Government of India.
     "During the visit, President Dr Muizzu attended a banquet hosted by the President of India, Her Excellency Draupadi Murmu, in honour of the visiting dignitaries.”
     “The two Presidents also had a meeting in which they discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation between the Maldives and India,” it said, adding that during the meeting, President Murmu conveyed her greetings to the new government and the people of Maldives.
     “She expressed confidence that the island nation will continue on the path of prosperity and development under Muizzu's leadership,” it said.
     A statement by President Murmu's Secretariat in New Delhi said she expressed hope that India-Maldives relations will continue to strengthen in the years to come.
     Jaishankar also called on Muizzu and said, in a post on X, he looks “forward to India and Maldives working together closely.”
     Muizzu, known for his pro-China leanings, was visiting India for the first time almost six months after taking oath last November. Unlike his predecessors, who made the first port of call to New Delhi after assuming office, Muizzu had travelled to Turkiye first and to China for his first state visit in January.
     The ties between India and the Maldives came under severe strain since Muizzu, within hours of his oath, demanded the withdrawal of all Indian military personnel operating three aviation platforms from his country. The Indian military personnel were replaced by Indian civilians last month.

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)