Solih, who defeated Maldivian strongman Abdulla Yameen in polls in September, arrived here yesterday afternoon on his first foreign visit after assuming office and was received by Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri. He is staying at Rashtrapati Bhavan as a guest of the Indian government.
Speaking at a public event here, Solih described India as Maldives’s closest friend and also one of its most important trading partners. Official sources said one of the highlights of the visit is going to be an agreement between the two countries to facilitate smooth procurement of visas for citizens of both countries.
“Fortifying close bonds of cooperation and friendship. President of Maldives Ibrahim Solih received by MoS Hardeep Puri on arrival in Delhi, his first foreign visit after assuming office and within a month of visit of PM Narendra Modi to Maldives,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
Solih will hold talks with Modi on Monday after a ceremonial reception. He will meet President Ram Nath Kovind the same day. Solih will also call on Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu and foreign minister Sushma Swaraj.
Solih will visit the Taj Mahal on Tuesday before heading back. The visit comes a month after Modi attended his swearing-in ceremony. Modi had said that he was looking forward to working closely with Solih and both leaders expressed confidence in renewal of close ties, which were interrupted by political turmoil in Maldives.