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India has congratulated Maldives for the successful conduct of parliamentary elections and expressed hope that the two nations will continue their exchanges at parliamentary level in the coming days, the Ministry of External Affairs said. MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said that New Delhi and Male have had historical ties and India has a development cooperation program with Maldives.

Addressing the weekly media briefing, Mr Jaiswal said, “We have old historical ties with Maldives. We have a development cooperation programme with the Maldives and one programme is ongoing. Recently, Maldives held parliamentary/ Majlis elections. We congratulate Maldives on its successful parliamentary elections. We (India) and Maldives have many exchanges with each other at the parliament level. We hope to continue these exchanges with the new Majlis in the coming days.”

In response to another query about Bangladesh, China planning to hold joint military exercise in May, he said, “You have heard me speak about this several times from this podium. We keep a close watch on all developments that happen in our neighbourhood and beyond, which impact our economic and security interests and we take appropriate measures accordingly.”

Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu’s ruling People’s National Congress (PNC) has won a supermajority in the Maldives Parliament. His party won 60 seats in the parliamentary elections held on Sunday, Maldives-based Sun Online reported.

Over 200,000 people voted in the parliamentary elections, in which 326 candidates were in the fray for 93 seats in the next parliamentary assembly, including six new seats. Maldives ruling party’s candidates contested 90 seats.

The candidates who contested the elections also included 89 candidates from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP); 39 candidates from the Democrats; 10 candidates from the Jumhoory Party (JP); four candidates from the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA); four from the Adhaalath Party (AP); two from the Maldives National Party (MNP); and 130 independent candidates.

According to preliminary results, President Mohamed Muizzu’s PNC secured the win in more than 60 seats, which is roughly two-thirds of the total seats. It does not include the independent candidates who contested with the party’s support and candidates from the MNP and MDA. MNP and MDA are two parties allied with the ruling coalition.
Notably, ties between India and the Maldives had become strained since Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu assumed office. He criticised India during and after the presidential polls and his government also formally requested India to withdraw its troops from Male. However, in March, Mr Muizzu requested New Delhi for debt relief measures, while stating that India would continue to remain the Maldives’ “closest ally,” local media reported.

He further claimed that he has “not taken any action nor made any statements” that may strain the relationship between the two countries. In an interview with local media ‘Mihaaru’, Mr Muizzu said that he hopes India will accommodate debt relief measures for the Maldives’ in the repayment of the hefty loans taken from the country over consecutive governments, Adhadhu reported.

He said, “The conditions we have inherited are such that there are very large loans taken from India. Hence, we are holding discussions to explore leniencies in the repayment structure of these loans. Instead of halting any ongoing projects, proceed with them at speed. So I see no reason for any adverse effects (on Maldives-India relations).”