Maldives has been the only SAARC nation that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to ignore for a visit. The reason was the Islamist dictatorship led by Abdulla Yameen which forcefully ousted the democratically elected President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed in 2012.
The opposition in the Maldives had staged non-violent protests and representations were made to important ‘friends’ like India to back democracy in the country.
But now, when the democracy is back, PM Narendra Modi has no issues whatsoever to pay the visit.
PM Narendra Modi has received an invite from the President-Elect Solih of Maldives to attend the swearing-in ceremony on 17th November. Prime Minister has accepted the invitation.
A press statement by Ministry of External Affairs said that this visit was ‘in keeping with her Neighborhood First policy and that India looks forward to closely working with the Maldives in further deepening the partnership. PM will return to New Delhi on the same night’.
Yameen’s regime was known for its soft stance on growing Islamism in the country and also for its very open China tilt. Earlier, a newspaper close to the Yameen regime named Vaguthu had published an article which was rabidly anti-India.
The article suggested that how India is treating its own Muslims was evidence that it was no longer a compassionate nation. Interestingly, Maldives came very close to Pakistan in Yameen’s days.
The paper had also said that the Indian policy has shifted since the extremist Hindu Narendra Modi has been in power. He is especially anti-Muslim, the paper had claimed. After the opposition’s attacks, the article was buried by the paper.