Maldives will have a change of guard today. Ibrahim Mohamed Solih would assume office as President of Maldives. He won the presidential elections with 58.4% votes.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be attending the oath taking ceremony. Delegation level talks are expected.
The relation between India and Maldives in the last five years stood at the lowest. The former President Abdulla Yameen assumed office in 2013. Yameen boycotted India’s outreach to its neighbours after taking over. His Government had allocated plenty of islands to the Chinese to pursue developmental projects.
The archipelago nation started drifting towards Chinese when China’s President Xi Jinping visited Maldives in 2014. The visit boosted tourism by over 20%. More Chinese citizens started visiting Maldives since then.
The relations dipped further as Maldives handed over India’s contract to develop the Male airport to China. Later Maldives and China signed a free trade agreement that was globally criticised.
The change is crucial to bring Maldives out of Chinese debt. Solih had said that the debt stands at $1.5 billion or it could be even worse. The new president will cut down on Chinese investments and look towards India and United States.
Solih is a close associate of former President Mohamed Nasheed. So naturally India and Maldivian relations are set to boost after the change of guard.