A day after attending his inaugural ceremony, Indian Union Minister Kiren Rijiju on Saturday met the new Maldivian President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu and reiterated India’s commitment to further strengthen the substantive bilateral cooperation and robust people-to-people ties.
Mr. Muizzu, 45, took oath on Friday as the eighth President of the strategically-located archipelago nation in the Indian Ocean. Underscoring India’s ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’, Mr. Rijiju represented the country at Mr. Muizzu’s inauguration ceremony.
“Privileged to call on President H.E. Dr. Mohamed Muizzu. Conveyed greetings from Hon’ble PM @NarendraModi and reiterated India’s commitment to further strengthen the substantive bilateral cooperation and robust people-to-people ties,” Mr. Rijiju posted on X after the meeting.
A close associate of former Maldives President Abdulla Yameen, who forged close ties with China during his Presidency from 2013 to 2018, Mr. Muizzu defeated India-friendly incumbent Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in the Presidential runoff held in September.
Maldives is India’s key maritime neighbour in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and occupies a special place in the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and the ‘Neighbourhood First Policy.’
Maldives’ proximity to the west coast of India (barely 70 nautical miles away from Minicoy and 300 nautical miles away from India’s West coast), and its situation at the hub of commercial sea lanes running through the Indian Ocean gives it significant strategic importance to India.
Mr. Rijiju also visited a 4,000 social housing units project at Hulhumale in Maldives, where, India’s Exim Bank and NBCC (India) Limited, an infra-construction company under the government of India’s Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, and a private Indian company has partnered with government of Maldives to provide affordable and inclusive housing for all.
Earlier, late on Friday evening, Mr. Rijiju also attended the inaugural reception, hosted by President Muizzu and First Lady Sajidha Mohamed for the visiting dignitaries at Kurumba Maldives after the oath-taking ceremony.
“Thanks to H.E. President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu @MMuizzu for hosting an official banquet for the dignitaries and provided us a glimpse of the famed Maldivian hospitality,” he posted on X with colourful photos from the event.