Indian PM Modi seeks ‘closer cooperation’ after President Muizzu congratulates him on historic win

Maldivian President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu meets India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 1, 2023. (Photo/President's Office)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that he looks forward to closer cooperation to further strengthen ties between Male’ and New Delhi, after Maldivian President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu congratulated him on his historic election win.

Modi, 73, has claimed a historic third win in a row in India’s general elections, becoming only the second prime minister after independence leader Jawaharlal Nehru, to accomplish the feat.

In a post on X on Tuesday night, President Muizzu congratulated Modi on the victory.

“I look forward to working together to advance our shared interests in pursuit of shared prosperity and stability for our two countries,” he added.

In a post on X on Wednesday morning, Modi thanked President Muizzu, calling Maldives “our valued partner and neighbor in the Indian Ocean Region”.

“I too look forward to closer cooperation for further strengthening our bilateral ties,” he said.

While Modi claimed a historic win in the elections, his ruling alliance, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), appears to have failed to win a large majority as predicted.

NDA won 291 of 543 seats up for grabs in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s parliament. This includes 239 seats won by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The opposition Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), led by the Congress party, surprised observers by winning 234 seats.

Modi and his party are still likely to be able to form India’s next government – but will be dependent on a clutch of allies whose support they will need to cross the 272-seat mark.

India was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with Maldives, after it won its independence in 1965. New Delhi opened its diplomatic mission in Male’ in 1972, and has remained one of the island nation’s closest allies.