Maldives minister to visit New Delhi

Maldivian Defence Minister Colonel Mohamed Nazim would arrive in New Dheli on a five-day visit, in a bid to shore up the bilateral relations that witnessed strains over a number of issues in the recent months.

He would be in India from Monday to Friday and during his stay he is expected to meet Defence Minister A K Antony and the country’s political top brass, apart from visiting certain defence institutions.

The visit comes just months after there was a war of words between New Delhi and Male over former Maldivan President Mohammed Nasheed taking shelter in the Indian High Commission building in February this year, following fears of his arrest ahead of the Presidential elections there.

After an intervention from New Delhi, Nasheed walked out of the Indian High Commission building after a 11-day stay. The incident almost threatened to mar relations between New Delhi and Male.

In November last year, Mohammed Wahid-led Maldivian Government had cancelled a commercial deal with Indian infrastructure company GMR for construction of a modern airport in Male. Antony had in September last year invited Nazim for an official visit, when he was in Male.

Nazim’s visit gains significance in view of Male increasing its diplomatic proximity to Beijing. Soon after Antony’s Male visit, Nazim had visited Beijing.

During Antony’s visit, the two nations had agreed to significantly ramp up ties in the security sphere.