Maldives president wants to meet

New Delhi, Feb 8: India has pledged support to new Maldivian President Mohamed Waheed who spoke with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on telephone Wednesday and sought a meeting with him, a day after the dramatic regime change in the archipelago nation.

“Waheed spoke to Manmohan Singh to reaffirm the close ties between the two countries. (He) said he looked forward to an early opportunity of meeting the prime minister,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.

The telephonic conversation comes after Manmohan Singh wrote to Waheed, assuring him of India’s continued support to the Indian Ocean nation.

India was committed to working with the Maldives for the “security and prosperity” of both the countries, Manmohan Singh said in his felicitation letter to Waheed.

“I take this opportunity to extend my warm felicitations to you on your assumption of office as president of the Maldives,” Manmohan Singh wrote in the letter, the text of which was released to the media Wednesday.

He said India, as a close and friendly neighbour, would continue to support the Maldivian people’s efforts to build a “stable, peaceful and prosperous country”.

Stating that the countries shared a common destiny with common security interests, the prime minister said: “India is committed to working with you and the government in Maldives to further enhance our close, bilateral cooperation to mutual benefit and for the continued security, progress and prosperity of our two countries.”

Maldives is strategically located along the major sea lanes in Indian Ocean. India and Maldives share close ties.

In 1988, India had responded to a call by then president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom to help quell an externally-induced coup attempt by rebels from Sri Lanka.

Waheed, previously the vice president, was sworn in as president Tuesday afternoon after Mohammed Nasheed was compelled to resign following widespread protests against him.

Nasheed’s was the nation’s first democratically elected government.

Waheed has pledged to form a national unity government until polls are held in 2013.

IANS