Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday held a fruitful meeting with the newly elected President of Maldives Mohammed Muizzu and discussed ways to enhance bilateral friendship in various fields. India and Maldives also agreed to form a core group to further deepen their partnership. The decision to form the Core Group was taken at the first meeting between Prime Minister Modi and Maldives President Muizzoo on the sidelines of the COP28 World Climate Action Summit here.
After the meeting, Modi said in a post on ‘X’, “President Muizzu and I had a productive meeting today. We discussed ways to enhance India-Maldives friendship in various fields. We look forward to working together to deepen cooperation for the benefit of our peoples.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the two leaders discussed ways to further deepen India-Maldives relations in areas related to economic ties, development cooperation and people-to-people ties. Muizzoo is a close aide of former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen. Yameen forged close ties with China while serving as president from 2013 to 2018. Muizzu (45) had defeated Ibrahim Mohammad Solih, considered a close friend of India, in the presidential elections held in September.
Modi on Friday personally congratulated Muizzu on assuming charge as the President of Maldives. “The two leaders reviewed the wide-ranging bilateral relations between the two countries, including people-to-people ties, development cooperation, economic relations, climate change and sports,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. “The two leaders also discussed ways to further deepen their partnership,” the statement said. In this regard, they agreed to form a core group.
The meeting comes at a time when President Muizzu, just days ago, had requested India to withdraw 77 Indian military personnel and decided to review over 100 bilateral agreements between the two countries. This request was made by Muizzu when India’s Union Minister Kiren Rijiju paid a courtesy call on the new President at his office on November 18.
Maldives is India’s major maritime neighbor in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and holds a special place in the Prime Minister’s vision of Ocean (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and Neighbors First policy. Observers say despite his party’s pro-China rhetoric, Muizzu, a Britain-educated civil engineer, may pursue a more nuanced foreign policy as the country faces a precarious economy with many debts yet to be repaid. Is.