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Maldives Extends Invitation to India For New President’s Inauguration Ceremony

It is not clear yet whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself will attend the ceremony. Five states will be going to the polls this month, for which he has a hectic campaigning schedule.

November 6, 2023 1:51 pm

Maldivian president elect Mohamed Muizzu. Photo: X/@MMuizzu.
Maldivian president elect Mohamed Muizzu. Photo: X/@MMuizzu.

New Delhi: India has been invited to the inauguration ceremony of the new Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu, scheduled to take place in two weeks.

Invitations were sent out to all “close partners” of the Indian Ocean island nation.

Last month, the opposition coalition leader Muizzu won presidential elections with a comfortable victory, stopping the incumbent Mohamed Solih’s re-election attempt in its tracks.

He won 54% of the votes in the presidential polls’ final run-off on September 30.

After the elections, there is a one-month long transition period which will end on November 17 with an inauguration ceremony.

President-elect Muizzu’s spokesperson Mohamed Firzul confirmed to The Wire that “invitations have been delivered” to foreign governments for the oath of office ceremony.

When asked if India and China were on the invitation list, he replied, “All neighbouring countries, close partners of [the] Maldives and multilateral organisations have been invited”.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended Solih’s swearing-in ceremony in November 2018.

While ministers and officials from 46 countries had attended the event, Modi had been the only head of government to travel to the Maldives.

That visit symbolised the relief felt in New Delhi following Solih’s election victory, as bilateral relations had deteriorated during Abdulla Yameen’s previous administration.

It is not clear yet whether Modi himself will be going to the Maldives this time. Five states will be going to the polls this month for which he has a hectic campaigning schedule.

While Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh will vote on November 17 (the latter state will also vote in a first phase on November 7), Rajasthan will vote on November 25 and Telangana on November 30.

The Indian PM has already declined an invitation from the United States to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco that ends on November 17.

Muizzu has also said that his immediate priority after taking over as president would be to ensure the withdrawal of Indian troops stationed in the Maldives. This had been a key promise of the opposition’s campaign platform.

During his meeting with Indian high commissioner Munu Mahawar, he had also asked for support from India on the country’s debt restructuring.

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