Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, on Monday invited the new President-Elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who won the Maldives' presidential election, to visit India.
In an interview to local television station 'Raajje TV', Solih shared that Modi had congratulated him on his victory via a phone call, and invited Solih to visit him at the earliest. The president-elect has accepted the invitation.
Elaborating on the call, Solih disclosed that Modi had highlighted the recent slump in the relations between India and Maldives, and that he had urged to rectify the issue.
"I told him that India is always the closest ally to the Maldives, and guaranteed that it will remain that way," he said.
Solih shared that he had emphasised to Modi the importance of India's assistance for progress and democracy in Maldives. In response, Modi had assured India's full cooperation in aiding the island nation's development, Solih said.
He further revealed that Modi had noted the significant difference with which Solih won the electoral race against incumbent President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, and that Modi had encouraged the parties of the opposition coalition to continue working together.
Tensions between Maldives and India began to rise after the latter called on the current government to execute the landmark verdict issued by the Supreme Court on February 1 this year, which ordered the release of nine high profile political prisoners. India had criticised the government's decision to declare a state of emergency in the wake of the ruling and its refusal to enforce the verdict, resulting in the souring of ties between the two South Asian neighbours.
Modi is yet to visit the Maldives after he assumed office as Prime Minister, making the archipelago the only nation he has not visited within the South Asian region.