President Muizzu: India relations will benefit Maldives

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu (R) meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) on June 10, 2024. (Photo/President's Office)

Relations with neighboring India will benefit the Maldives, says the country’s President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu.

During his recent trip to New Delhi to attend Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inauguration for a record-equaling third term in office, President Muizzu told the Public Service Media (PSM) that the visit was “successful.”

He added that the trip was also an important one for the South East Asian region.

President Muizzu said Maldives-India relations will facilitate “positive things” for Male’.

He said that the ties between the two countries can be enhanced for the benefit of the Maldivian people.

“I am confident that In Sha Allah, Maldives will enjoy some positive things through relations between the two countries. In Sha Allah, things will be even better than before,” he said. “The best for Maldives, In Sha Allah. All this will be facilitated through close and friendly relations between the two countries, in a manner that maximizes benefit for the Maldivian people.”

During the visit, President Muizzu attended Modi’s swearing-in ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi, on Sunday evening.

He also attended a banquet hosted by Indian President Droupadi Murmu, in honor of the visiting dignitaries, and met with Modi, Murmu, and Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. Subramaniyam Jaishankar.

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu met with Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar upon the minister's invitation: the two discussed on strengthening diplomatic ties between the two countries -- Photo/ President's Office

“[I am happy] to have come here on this trip. I am grateful I got to meet the Indian president, prime minister, and I also met Jaishankar,” he said.

President Muizzu, the leader of People’s National Congress (PNC), got elected to office last year on the back of an “India Out” campaign, promising not just to expel Indian troops from the Maldives, but also to end the country’s heavy reliance on New Delhi for its needs, ranging from imports to healthcare.

Tensions worsened after three deputy ministers made disparaging social media remarks about Modi and back in January.

The three ministers were subsequently suspended, and the Foreign Ministry released a statement saying the comments do not reflect the views of the Male’ government.

But relations appear to be on the mend, with President Muizzu’s recent visit to India, and Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer’s visit to Delhi last month.