New Delhi: Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Sunday arrived on a three-day visit to India. This is his first visit to any country after taking over as the new Maldivian President on November 17. He was received by Hardeep Singh Puri who the formal minister in waiting. Maldivian First Lady Fazna Ahmed and a high-level delegation of the Maldives’ government are accompanying the President on his visit.
In his statement on his India visit, President Solih highlighted that India was among one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the Maldives. He also expressed his "gratitude to the Indian government for the continuous support and assistance provided for the development of the Maldives."
He will also be meeting the Maldivian community residing in India during his visit and enquiring on the challenges they were facing.
A number of bilateral agreements will be signed between the government of the Maldives and India during the visit, one on which is agreement on a new visa regime that will ease the process of obtaining a dependent visa and medical visa for Maldivian travellers to India.
Monday will be the main day of engagement. He will be given a guard of honour at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, followed by meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House and press statement at 1 PM in Delhi on Monday. He will also meet Indian business leaders. As part of the State Visit, a State banquet will be hosted by the PM Modi, in honour of President Solih and First Lady. On the eve of his visit to India, President appointed, Aishath Mohamed Didi the new Maldivian Ambassador to India.
PM Modi visited the Maldives last month to take part in the swearing-in ceremony of Solih. Ties between India and the Maldives suffered a downward spiral under the previous Abdulla Yameen administration who reversed pro India "India first" policy for a pro-Bejing policy and signed a free trade agreement with China.