Maldivian President Muizzu arrives in Delhi to attend Modi's oath ceremony

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Mohamed Muizzu in India

New Delhi: Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu arrived in Delhi on Sunday morning to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi.

It is Muizzu's first visit to India after he became the island nation's president in November last year.

The Maldivian President is among the leaders from seven countries from India's neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean region attending the swearing-in ceremony of Modi and his council of ministers this evening at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

"President @MMuizzu of Maldives arrives to a warm welcome in New Delhi to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said on X.

"India and Maldives are maritime partners and close neighbours," he added.

Bangladesh President Sheikh Hasina and Vice-President of Seychelles Ahmed Afif have already arrived in Delhi.

Besides Muizzu, Hasina and Afif, the other leaders attending the ceremony are Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda', Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay.

"The visit of the leaders to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his third consecutive term is in keeping with the highest priority accorded by India to its 'Neighbourhood First' policy and 'SAGAR' vision," the Ministry of External Affairs said on Saturday.

India has been cooperating with the countries of the Indian Ocean region under the broader policy framework of SAGAR or Security and Growth for all in the Region.

In addition to participating in the swearing-in ceremony, the foreign leaders will also attend a banquet hosted by President Droupadi Murmu.

The invitation by New Delhi to Muizzu to attend the swearing-in ceremony assumed significance as it came amid frosty ties between India and the Maldives.

The ties between India and the Maldives came under severe strain since November last year when Muizzu, known for his pro-China leanings, took charge as Maldivian president.

Within hours of his oath, he had demanded the withdrawal of Indian military personnel from his country. The Indian military personnel were replaced by civilians earlier this month.