Minister Rijiju to represent India at Muizzu’s inauguration

Indian Union Minister of Earth Sciences Kiren Rijiju. (Photo/PTI)

Indian Union Minister of Earth Sciences Kiren Rijiju is scheduled to visit the Maldives this week, to attend the inauguration of Maldives President-elect Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, as a special envoy of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Indian External Affairs Ministry announced that Rijiju will be embark on a three-day visit to the Maldives on Thursday.

“This high level of ministerial representation from India at the inaugural ceremony underscores India’s commitment to further deepen substantive cooperation and robust people-to-people ties between the two countries,” said the ministry in its statement.

Muizzu, who will take office in a ceremony at the Republic Square in Male’ City on Friday, had invited Modi to attend his inauguration.

But Modi declined the invitation, as he is scheduled to attend the Global South Summit and the G-20 Summit.

Muizzu, who built his presidential campaign on the promise of expelling Indian military personnel from the Maldives, has been described in international media as a “pro-China” politician. He has dismissed the claims, portraying himself as “pro-Maldives” instead.

He has said that though he intends to hold frank and detailed diplomatic consultations with India to work out details of sending back military personnel from the Maldives as soon as possible, he would make it a priority to ensure that Maldives relations with India thrive.

He has stated that his administration will foster close relations with all countries that respect Maldives’ independence and sovereignty.

In a congratulatory message on occasion of Maldives’ republic Day last weekend, Modi said that Maldives holds a special place in India’s ‘Neighborhood First’ policy, and is a key player in enabling the vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) - a label used by Modi’s administration for India's vision and geopolitical framework of maritime cooperation in the Indian Ocean region.

He reiterated India’s commitment to working closely with the Maldives for the continued socio-economic progress of the people of both countries.

He also conveyed his strong belief that the enduring multi-dimensional partnership between Maldives and India will soar to greater heights in the coming years.