New Delhi:  India on Wednesday reached out to the new leadership of Maldives a day after the sudden change of regime forced by turmoil, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh writing to President Mohamed Waheed expressing "continued support" to the efforts to ensure stability and peace in that country.

Soon after, Waheed spoke to Singh, affirming "the special and close ties" that Maldives has with India and saying he looked forward to an early opportunity to meet him. Singh said the early meeting would give both sides an opportunity to discuss the further strengthening of bilateral cooperation.

"I take this opportunity to extend my warm felicitations to you on your assumption of office as President of the Maldives," Singh said in his letter to Waheed, former Vice President who took over after Mohamed Nasheed stepped down in the face of widespread protests.

He said that as a "close and friendly neighbour" India will, "as always, continue to support the Maldivian people`s efforts to build a stable, peaceful and prosperous country."

Noting that the two countries share common destiny and have common security interests, he told Waheed that "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."

In his telephonic talk with Singh after taking over, Waheed "reaffirmed the special and close ties that Maldives has with India and said that he was committed to upholding the Constitution of that country and the rule of law," said a statement issued by the PMO.
    
Singh conveyed his best wishes to the President and said that India, as always, stood ready to provide any support or assistance that the people of the Maldives might require.

The Prime Minister conveyed his good wishes to the people of Maldives for peace, prosperity and stability in the country.

Nasheed, who was the first democratically-elected President, announced his resignation suddenly on Tuesday after weeks of public protests.

The protests had been triggered by his order to arrest a senior judge, who had ordered release of a government critic.

India had on Tuesday described the change of regime in Maldives due to protests as an internal matter of the country.

(Agencies)