Modi picks Maldives for first foreign visit in second term

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India May 26, 2019, 04.45 PM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will make his first foreign visit to the Maldives after assuming office for his second term, according to Maldivian media Raajje.

"Modi is expected to visit the Maldives from 7 to 8 June," the report added. 

Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had called PM Modi on May 23 to congratulate him on his re-election.

During his first tenure in 2014, Narendra Modi's first foreign visit was to Bhutan.

There have been a number of high-level visits between the two countries since the new government of President Solih took over in November 2018. 

Modi was also present during the swearing-in ceremony of President Solih in November 2018. This was followed by visits of Maldivian Foreign minister Abdulla Shahid and President Solih.

India announced 100 million Maldivian rufiyaa grant aid to the country during External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's visit in March.

Last week, Maldives had announced about two Indian projects to be launched as part of grants in the country.

The projects included Police Academy in Dhaalu Atoll and Convention Centre in Ukulhas, Alif Alif Atoll. The total cost of both the projects will be 14.8 million Maldivian rufiyaa or 960,000 US dollar.

The Maldives is a key country in the Indian Ocean region and lies in the heart of busy shipping lanes connecting Africa with Asia. The previous administration under President Yameen so "India first" policy being replaced by a pro-china policy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have seven scheduled foreign visits in the next seven months--these are Maldives, Kyrgyzstan, Japan, France, Russia, Thailand and Brazil. The visits will see him interact with global leaders and see a consolidation of his foreign policy actions and gains from his first term.

He will visit Kyrgyzstan for SCO Summit, Japan for G20 summit, France for G7 summit, Russia for Eastern Economic Forum (EEF), Thailand for East Asia Summit and Brazil for BRICS summit.