New Delhi: A premier’s first official visit abroad after taking office carries high significance because it shows the priority of a nation with respect to its foreign policy. That is why Narendra Modi’s first official foreign visit to Sri Lanka and Maldives is considered as a strong message.
Considering the change of guard in Maldives and the terror attack in Sri Lanka, Modi’s visit to these countries is a strong message that the government is seen as giving high priority to its immediate neighbours.
Sri Lanka, which is reeling under the terrorist attack that took the life of more than 250 people on Easter day, is looking forward to the State visit. The nation looks to India as a strong regional force that could stop the forces of Islamic terrorism.
Moreover, the island nation went through a political instability when the President President Mathripala Sirisena pushed out pro Indian Prime Minister Ranil Wickermesighe and tried to install China supporter Mahindra Rajapakse. Fortunately, the bid failed and Ranil Wickermeshinge came back to power.
The Maldives also witnessed a power struggle between pro Chinese and pro Indian leadership. Chinese supporter Abdulla Yameen lost the elections last year and pro Indian Ibrahim Mohammad Solih ascended the power, effectively keeping in check the rise of Chinese influence in the region.
It is a matter of pride that all the members of the Maldives parliament decided to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak in the Parliament.
Narendra Modi’s calculated move to visit these nations is a subtle message to China regarding their efforts to encircle the Indian Sub Continent with Chinese interests. Modi has decided to strengthen the relations with the immediate neighbours which have a more direct influence in the stability and security of the region.