Union Minister Rijiju to represent India at Maldives President's oath-taking ceremony
The Maldives has long been a focal point in India’s foreign policy
Union Minister of Earth Sciences Kiren Rijiju will visit the Maldives from November 16 to 18, 2023, to represent India at the inaugural ceremony of President-elect Mohamed Muizzu’s presidency. This visit, at the invitation of the President-elect himself, is a testament to the strengthening bilateral relations between India and the Maldives, two key players in the strategically vital Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
The Maldives, known for its strategic maritime position in the IOR, has long been a focal point in India’s foreign policy, particularly under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of 'SAGAR' (Security and Growth for All in the Region).
This doctrine, along with the 'Neighbourhood First Policy', emphasizes India's commitment to building a secure and prosperous maritime neighborhood. Rijiju's presence in the Maldives during this significant moment in its political landscape reflects India's unwavering dedication to these principles.
"This high level Ministerial representation from India at the inaugural ceremony underscores India’s commitment to further deepen the substantive cooperation and robust people to people ties between the two countries," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Wednesday (November 15, 2023) as it announced the visit.
President-elect Muizzu's victory in the presidential runoff in September marked a significant political shift in the Maldives. Known for his pro-China stance, Muizzu’s presidency is anticipated to bring new dynamics to the region's geopolitics. The transition comes at a time when India-Maldives relations have been witnessing a positive trajectory, especially in defense and security cooperation, under outgoing President Ibrahim Solih’s “India First” policy.
India had received an invitation for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the oath-taking ceremony of Maldives President-elect Muizzu.
Prime Minister Modi had earlier congratulated him on his victory. "Congratulations and greetings to @MMuizzu on being elected as President of the Maldives. India remains committed to strengthening the time-tested India-Maldives bilateral relationship and enhancing our overall cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region," Prime Minister Modi had posted on X (formerly Twitter).
As the Maldives navigates its new political era, India’s engagement will be crucial in maintaining the balance of power in the IOR, a region increasingly significant in global geopolitics due to its strategic maritime routes and economic potential.
Rijiju's visit comes against the backdrop of various ongoing collaborative projects between the two nations.
These projects cover a wide spectrum of areas including infrastructure development, healthcare, tourism, and climate change – sectors that are vital for the Maldives' economy and societal well-being. India’s involvement in these sectors underscores its role as a reliable development partner in the region.