As Maldives Sheds China's Shadow, PM Modi Attends President's Swearing

DD News

DD News

Ibrahim Mohamed Solih took office as the new Maldives president on Saturday and immediately warned of a "dire" economic crisis as he turned to India for help, signalling an end to the pro-China stance of his predecessor.

Solih, a 54-year-old veteran lawmaker, had already promised an "India first" policy as he works to restructure debt brought on by Yameen's close embrace of China. He dropped the Maldives from a 2015 tour of Indian Ocean countries because of the political situation there with massive anti-government protests and heightened tension that led to the arrest and prosecution of former president Mohamed Nasheed. "We will endeavour to fortify existing ties with India, and Maldives will hereupon bolster its shared role to retain enduring peace and harmony of the Indian Ocean", he said. Modi suggested both sides should meet at the earliest to "work out details as per requirements of the Maldives".

Mr Solih won the Presidential elections held in September defeating incumbent President Abdulla Yameen.

Modi had cancelled his first visit to the country in 2015 after Yameen detained pro-India Nasheed and eventually had him convicted on a terrorism charge and jailed for 13 years.

In her letter, Mdm Halimah wished Solih continued good health, and every success in his new appointment.

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Donna Stolzenberg from National Homelessness Collective said her organisation would help him put it in a trust fund. An accountancy firm has offered to oversee the fund and give financial advice, she added.

Both neighbouring India and Western nations watched with concern as Yameen moved closer to Beijing which loaned the strategically placed archipelago millions of dollars for infrastructure.

"Recent elections in the Maldives represent the collective aspirations of the people for democracy, rule of law and a prosperous future".

Right after he was sworn in as Maldives' seventh President, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has visited the management and employees at the President's Office on Saturday. The grand swearing-in ceremony was attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Sri Lankan MP Namal Rajapaksa and many other big names from across the globe.

In a joint press statement, the two countries said, "The two leaders discussed ways in which India can continue development partnership, particularly to help the new government in meeting its pledges to the people of the Maldives". Maldives foreign minister will visit India on November 26 to kick-start the new and improved relationship.

Under Yameen, the Maldives, like several other countries in the region, had come under a debt trap under Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure push.

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