Sushma to host Maldives foreign minister

Sushma to host Maldives foreign minister

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is set to host Maldivian Foreign Minister Mohamed Asim this week, as both New Delhi and Male seek to ease strains in bilateral relations.

Asim will arrive in New Delhi on Wednesday and hold a meeting with Sushma on Thursday. He will also call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, sources in New Delhi said on Tuesday.

The Maldivian foreign minister is the first high-ranking official of the archipelago nation in Indian Ocean to visit India after President Abdulla Yameen's government in Male inked a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China.

The FTA between Maldives and China caused unease in India. New Delhi did not publicly criticise Male, but reminded that President Yameen's government itself had articulated its India-First policy.

The move by local authorities to suspend three councillors of an opposition party for meeting India's ambassador to Maldives, Akhilesh Mishra, also added to the strain in bilateral ties.

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