MALE, Maldives (Diya TV) — Amid shifting diplomatic dynamics, Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu has adopted a reconciliatory stance towards India, emphasizing its significance as the Maldives’ “closest ally” and urging debt relief from New Delhi. The Maldives owes approximately $400.9 million to India, prompting Muizzu’s appeal for leniency in debt repayment.

Since assuming office in November last year, Muizzu has navigated a pro-China stance, marked by anti-India rhetoric and demands for the repatriation of Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives. However, in a recent interview with local media outlet Mihaaru, Muizzu praised India’s aid contributions and expressed gratitude for its developmental projects in the Maldives.

Following the departure of Indian military personnel earlier this month, Muizzu reiterated India’s pivotal role in the Maldives’ development and strategic cooperation. He underscored the importance of bilateral ties and emphasized India’s enduring status as the Maldives’ closest ally.

Muizzu’s conciliatory remarks coincide with efforts to address the Maldives’ substantial debt burden, largely accrued from loans extended by India over successive administrations. He urged India to consider flexible repayment options, highlighting the economic challenges faced by the Maldives.

Acknowledging India’s assistance, Muizzu conveyed his appreciation to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and advocated for the continuation and acceleration of ongoing projects between the two nations. He proposed the establishment of a high-level committee to expedite infrastructure initiatives, signaling a commitment to bolstering bilateral cooperation.

Despite recent tensions over the presence of Indian military personnel, Muizzu assured that diplomatic relations remain intact, with both countries working towards mutually beneficial solutions. He emphasized the Maldives’ commitment to national security while maintaining respect for bilateral agreements and aid contributions.

Muizzu’s diplomatic overtures towards India come amidst broader geopolitical shifts, including a pro-China policy stance and increased engagement with Beijing. However, his efforts to strengthen ties with India underscore the enduring significance of the Maldives-India partnership in the region.