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Maldivian minister visits India as president’s special envoy

Maldivian minister visits India as president’s special envoy

Maldivian minister visits India as president’s special envoy

Foreign Minister Dr Mohamed Asim is visiting India as a special envoy of President Abdulla Yameen, amid suggestions that India-Maldives diplomatic ties have come under strain due to growing Chinese influence.

According to the foreign ministry, Asim will pay a courtesy call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and meet with the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday to “hold discussions on strengthening the close, friendly relations” between the two countries.

He is accompanied by Foreign Secretary Ahmed Sareer and Joint Secretary of the Foreign Ministry Aishath Azeema. The three-day visit will conclude on Thursday.

Yameen’s decision to send a special envoy to India was criticised by the spokesperson of the Maldives United Opposition as a move to “avoid direct interaction with his Indian counterpart, either forced by China not to, or he is too proud and big”.

Asim’s visit comes as relations with India have apparently soured over the Maldives signing a Free Trade Agreement with China in December after the deal was rushed through parliament.

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