President of the Republic of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih with PM Narendra Modi. Courtesy: REUTERS

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay a two-day visit to the Maldives beginning Saturday, in his first bilateral trip after his reelection for a second term, the External Affairs Ministry said on Monday.

It said Modi will also travel to Sri Lanka on June 9 and that the two visits would reflect the priority India attaches to its neighbourhood-first policy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay a state visit to the Republic of Maldives on June 8 and 9 at the invitation of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, President of the Republic of Maldives,” the Ministry of External Affairs said.

It said the visit is reflective of the new momentum in high-level exchanges between India and the Maldives. President Solih had come to India in December 2018 on a state visit.

The MEA said Modi’s visit will provide an important occasion to review the recent developments in bilateral relations and exchange views on issues of mutual interest to further strengthen the special relationship between the two countries.

“Prime Minister Modi will also visit Sri Lanka on June 9 at the invitation of Maithripala Sirisena, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka,” said the MEA.

Modi visited the Maldives in November last year to attend Solih’s swearing-in ceremony, signalling the importance India attaches to the island nation.

The relations between India and the Maldives deteriorated after the then President Abdulla Yameen imposed emergency on February 5 last year.

India had criticised his decision and asked his government to restore the credibility of the electoral and political process by releasing political prisoners. The emergency lasted 45 days.

Solih became president in November after he defeated Yameen in the presidential polls.

Source: https://www.news18.com/news/india/pm-modi-to-visit-maldives-and-sri-lanka-from-june-8-focus-on-neighbourhood-first-policy-2170441.html