President Mohamed Muizzu attended Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inauguration on Sunday afternoon, marking his first visit to India since his own inauguration on 17 November 2023. The ceremony, held at the president’s residence, signified a historic occasion for India as Modi became only the second leader in the country’s history to secure three consecutive terms.

President Muizzu, who arrived in New Delhi on Sunday morning, was received at the Indira Gandhi International Airport by Pavan Kapoor, Secretary (West) at the Indian External Affairs Ministry, and Munu Mahawar, High Commissioner of India to the Maldives.

The Maldivian President had earlier congratulated Prime Minister Modi, the BJP, and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) for their victory in the Indian general elections. Accepting Modi’s invitation to attend the swearing-in ceremony, President Muizzu expressed his gratitude and said he was honoured to witness this historic event.

President Muizzu’s eagerness to work with Prime Minister Modi to further strengthen the close relations with India is widely viewed as a promising sign. His visit demonstrates that Maldives-India relations are heading in a positive direction, according to the President’s Office.

Political observers believe that President Muizzu is making concerted efforts to mend ties with India, which have remained strained since his assumption of office in November last year. Relations were further strained when three high-ranking officials from the Muizzu administration made derogatory remarks directed at the Indian Prime Minister earlier in January.

However, the Maldives officially apologised for the incident during Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer’s first official visit to India. During this visit, Minister Zameer held discussions with India’s External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and extended a formal apology to the Indian government for the offensive comments.

While it remains uncertain whether President Muizzu’s visit will result in official talks between the two countries, it is a significant step towards strengthening bilateral relations.