Narendra Modi arrived in the Maldives on Saturday on his first foreign visit after re-election as Prime Minister to strengthen the bilateral ties, reflecting the importance India attaches to its 'Neighbourhood First' policy. Modi was received at Male airport by Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid. While Modi visited the Maldives in November 2018 to attend President Solih's swearing-in, this visit is the first by an Indian prime minister at a bilateral level in eight years.
The two-day state visit of Prime Minister Modi is aimed at further cementing ties with the Indian Ocean archipelago.
President Solih and Modi exchanged plasantaries upon the prime minister's arrival at Republic Square where he was accorded a ceremonial welcome.
The prime minister also inspected the guard of honour. Foreign Minister Shahid said in a tweet that it was a great honour to receive Modi at Velana International Airport on his first state visit overseas.
During his visit, Prime Minister Modi was conferred with the Maldives' highest honour "Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen".
"The Most Honourable Order of the Distinguished Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen" is the Maldives' highest honour accorded to foreign dignitaries, Shahid said on Twitter.
Later, the prime minister addressed the Maldivian Parliament, the Majlis, an indication of India's important position in the neighbourhood.
TOP QUOTES OF PM MODI IN MALDIVES PARLIAMENT:
‘Relations between India, Maldives are older than history’
'Neighbourhood First' is our priority. Relations between India and Maldives are older than history. From time immemorial, blue waters have washed our shores. They have also nourished our cultures and civilisations.
‘Decision to invite me to Maldives Parliament touched hearts of every Indian’
I am very happy to be present at People’s Majlis today. This decision to invite me was taken in the very first meeting after Mohamed Nasheed became Maldives' parliamentary speaker. This gesture has touched the hearts of every Indian.
‘Indians are with people of Maldives’
I want to reiterate that the people of India are with the people of Maldives to strengthen their (latter's) country.
‘State-sponsored terrorism is the biggest threat today’
#WATCH PM Narendra Modi at Maldivian Parliament, "Terrorism is a danger not just for a country or region but an entire civilization. State sponsored terrorism is the biggest threat today. It is time for a global conference on terrorism." pic.twitter.com/dvTPvSs4aF— ANI (@ANI) June 8, 2019
Terrorism is a danger not just for a country but the entire civilization. State-sponsored terrorism is the biggest threat today. It is important for the world community to come together to fight the challenge of terrorism and radicalisation.
‘Happy that Maldives working towards sustainable development’
I am happy that Maldives is working towards sustainable development and has become a part of the International Solar Alliance.
‘India will contribute in conservation of Maldives' Friday Mosque’
I felt great to have announced today that India will contribute in conservation of Maldives' Friday Mosque. There's no such mosque elsewhere in the world like this historical mosque made up of coral.
(With PTI inputs)