India is once again warming up to the Maldives after Prime Minister Narendra Modi opted out of a visit to the tropical nation in March following its crackdown on its politicians, including former president Mohammed Nasheed.
Though the Maldives invited Modi again in May in an attempt to revive ties, the Indian PM is yet to announce any formal plan to visit India's neighbour.
Modi’s message to Maldives on the occasion of its 50th year of independence, however, showed keenness on India’s part to strengthen ties with a country, described as an important cog in New Delhi’s Indian Ocean strategy. India has sent Union health minister JP Nadda to the Maldives to attend the celebrations.
“Maldives is a valued partner in the Indian Ocean neighbourhood and our ties are built on a very strong foundation”, Modi said in a message posted on Twitter on Sunday.
Maldives is a valued partner in the Indian Ocean neighbourhood & our ties are built on a very strong foundation: PM @narendramodi— PMO India (@PMOIndia) July 26, 2015
Modi had pulled out of a visit to the Maldives, which was part of his four-nation Sagar Yatra, in March to send a message of disapproval on the crackdown on Opposition leaders, notably former president Mohamed Nasheed.
India is watchful about the growing influence of China under the Abdulla Yameen-regime. President Xi Jingping had visited the Maldives in September. It also had concerns about the Maldives letting foreigners buy land.