As Minister of Foreign Affairs Moosa Zameer is set to meet India’s Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Thursday, Indian newspapers, reporting on the three-day visit which begins on Wednesday, chose to characterise the backdrop as amid strained relations between the two countries ever since the Mohamed Muizzu administration took office in the Maldives.

However, the Maldives’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) focused on a more nuanced outlook. According to a release by the MFA, the visit to India by the nation’s top diplomat is set to start Wednesday, when, during meetings between the counterparts, discussions will be held on further strengthening the long-standing relationship between the two nations.

This is the first official visit to India by a senior Muizzu administration official after much has been made of the ‘tradition’ of Maldivian heads of state making their first official visit to India after being elected to office — President Mohamed Muizzu chose Türkiye as his first port of call upon being sworn in, with a subsequent visit to ‘India’s main rival China,’ all without making an official visit to India.

Further complicating matters is the issue of the three Maldivian deputy ministers who are still under suspension for insulting India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While India is said to have demanded their removal, several Indian citizens and celebrities have launched a boycott of Maldives tourism, with the effort seemingly driving down arrivals from India significantly.

As Zameer arrived in India for the three-day visit on Wednesday, the last batch of Indian troops in Maldives is set to leave the country by Friday; the last day of the minister’s visit to India.