MALE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday attended the swearing in of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih as the President of Maldives. Solih had surprisingly defeated strongman Abdulla Yameen in
+ of the country in September.
During the swearing-in ceremony of Solih, Modi was sitting beside former Maldivian presidents Mohamed Nasheed and Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Former Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaratunga also attended the ceremony.
Modi interacted with leaders from the Maldives and other parts of the world during the oath taking ceremony.
Prime Minister @narendramodi interacts with leaders from The Maldives and other parts of the world during the oath… https://t.co/fzxgduepTk— PMO India (@PMOIndia) 1542456931000
Solih, 54, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party's candidate, had surprisingly
emerged victorious over incumbent president Yameen in the election held on September 23.
Congratulations to Mr. @ibusolih on taking oath as the President of the Maldives. Wishing him the very best for h… https://t.co/CxE3bfltbG— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1542461304000
On arrival in the Maldivian capital, Prime Minister Modi was given a red carpet welcome and was received by Maldives Parliament Speaker Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed.
READ ALSO: Yameen's loss puts India back in the strategic game in Maldives
This is Modi's first visit to the Maldives as prime minister. The last visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the Indian Ocean island nation was by Manmohan Singh in 2011.
In a series of tweets ahead of the visit, Modi had tweeted, "I will convey to the new Maldivian Government of Mr Solih the desire of the Indian Government to work closely for realisation of their developmental priorities, especially in areas of infrastructure, health care, connectivity & human resource development.
I will convey to the new Maldivian Government of Mr. Solih the desire of the Indian Government to work closely for… https://t.co/3BVDdIVJ6Y— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1542380300000
He said the recent elections in the Maldives represent the collective aspirations of the people for democracy, rule of law and a prosperous future.
"We in India strongly desire to see a stable, democratic, prosperous and peaceful Republic of Maldives," the prime minister had said.
READ ALSO: PM Modi embraces Maldives as new leader takes office, China out of favour
The Maldives is the only South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation SAARC country that Modi has not visited. His visit to the Maldives, a strategically vital island and a popular tourist destination, was cancelled in March 2015 due to the volatile political situation then.
PM @narendramodi and President @ibusolih held talks in Malé. This meeting happened just after Mr. Ibrahim Mohamed… https://t.co/MkjK8FDGtO— PMO India (@PMOIndia) 1542462386000
India-Maldives ties came under strain under Yameen who was perceived to be close to China. Some decisions by Yameen including imposition of restrictions on work visas for Indians and signing of a new Free Trade Agreement with Beijing also did not go down well with New Delhi.
Relations between India and the Maldives deteriorated further after Yameen imposed emergency on February 5 this year. India had criticised his decision and asked his government to restore the credibility of the electoral and political process by releasing political prisoners. The emergency lasted for 45 days.