By Associated Press - Friday, November 9, 2018

NEW DELHI (AP) - India’s prime minister will attend the swearing-in ceremony for the new president of the Maldives next week to reset ties which suffered during the rule of outgoing leader Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

The spokesman of India’s External Affairs Ministry, Raveesh Kumar, said Friday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accepted an invitation from President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to attend the ceremony on Nov. 17.

India considered Yameen to be pro-China after he signed a series of infrastructure projects with Beijing. Yameen lost the presidential election to Solih in September.

Kumar said India is looking forward to working closely with the Maldives in deepening their partnership.

The Maldives is the only neighboring country which Modi has not visited since becoming prime minister in 2014.

Though China’s economic clout is increasing, India has geographical proximity with the Maldives, which is just 400 kilometers (250 miles) southwest of India’s Malabar coast.

A coup attempt in 1988 by a group of Maldivians was foiled by the Indian army.

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