Congratulating President Abdulla Yameen on Maldives’ Golden Jubilee of independence, Chinese President Xi Jinping said he believed the country will realize further development under Yameen’s leadership.
The Maldives has achieved remarkable progress since its independence from the British in 1965, Xi said, according to China’s state owned Xinhua News Agency.
In his message, he stressed that China has always valued its friendship with the Maldives and said he would like to strengthen bilateral ties.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, highlighted age-old ties between the Maldives and India, noting 2015 also marks the Golden Jubilee year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
“I am confident that these close and friendly ties will continue to expand in coming years,” Modi said.
The UK’s Queen Elizabeth said: “It gives me great pleasure to send my warmest greetings to the people of Maldives on the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Independence together with my best wishes for happiness and prosperity in the coming years.”
The Maldives became a British protectorate in 1887.
Since President Yameen assumed power, he has declared a foreign policy shift to the East. Ties with China are growing, while those with India appear tense with Modi dropping the Maldives off an Indian Ocean tour in March.
At the time, Malé was gripped by daily protests over the imprisonment of former president Mohamed Nasheed. The opposition leader was sentenced to 13 years in jail, but has recently been transferred to house arrest.
President Xi was the first head of state to visit the Maldives during Yameen’s tenure. During his 2014 visit, the Maldives agreed to join China’s maritime silk route. This year, Maldives became a founding partner in the Chinese led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
A few opposition MPs have said recent constitutional amendments to allow foreign freeholds in the Maldives for the first time may be aimed at allowing China to establish a military base. The government promptly dismissed allegations. The amendment was passed with cross-party support.