India’s Chief of Army Staff arrives in Maldives on six-day official visit

India’s Chief of Army Staff arrives in Maldives on six-day official visit

India’s Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat arrived in the Maldives on Sunday.

Chief of Defence Force, Major General Abdulla Shamaal welcomed him at Velana International Airport along with Vice Chief of Defence Force, Brigadier General Abdul Raheem Abdul Latheef.

General Rawat is to meet with senior government officials during the six-day visit, including President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Defence Minister Mariya Didi, the defence chief as well as other cabinet ministers.

In addition, Rawat will also visit the Composite Training Center established in the MNDF Northern Area Headquarters -in Maafilaafushi in Lhaviyani atoll.

The Composite Training Center was established under Indian aid, and was inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih through a remote link; during the former’s visit to the country in June.

General Rawat took office as the Chief of the Army Staff in December 2016, following the retirement of General Dalbir Singh Suhag. There are reports that Rawat will also retire at the end of 2019.

While Maldives and India’s relationship had soured during former President Abdulla Yameen’s five-year rule, it has improved vastly since the new administration took over in November 2018.

As such, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s inauguration ceremony. Furthermore, President Solih’s maiden visit abroad since assuming office was to India, while PM Modi’s first trip abroad following his landslide re-election victory in May was to the Maldives.