India will now not withdraw its troops from Maldives. Finally, Maldives President Mohammed Muizzu has started to come to his senses. Instead of withdrawing its soldiers, India will exchange them. Maldives Foreign Ministry on Friday said India will replace its military personnel in three aviation platforms in the island nation and the first phase of the process will be completed by March 10. The statement from the Maldives Foreign Ministry came hours after a high-level meeting between the two sides on the contentious issue.
The meeting of the core group of the two countries was held in Delhi, in which the topic of withdrawal of Indian military personnel from Maldives was mainly discussed. The Ministry of External Affairs said here that both sides agreed to some mutually acceptable solutions for the continued operation of Indian aviation platforms in the Maldives. Last month, Maldivian President Mohammed Muizzu had asked India to withdraw all its military personnel from the island nation by March 15. “Both sides agreed that the Government of India will complete the replacement of military personnel in one of the three aviation platforms by March 10 and the replacement of military personnel in the other two platforms by May 10,” the Maldives Foreign Ministry said. ‘
Indian soldiers are deployed in Maldives for humanitarian aid and medical facilities.
The Maldives Foreign Ministry said both sides have agreed to some mutually acceptable solutions for the continued operation of Indian aviation platforms providing humanitarian assistance and medical evacuation services to the people of Maldives. It said it was agreed to hold the next meeting of the high-level core group in Male at a mutually convenient date. The Ministry of External Affairs said that during the meeting, both sides continued their discussions on a wide range of issues related to bilateral cooperation towards enhancing the partnership, including accelerating the implementation of ongoing development cooperation projects. In December, following a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldives President Mohammed Muizzu on the sidelines of the COP28 summit in Dubai, the two sides had decided to form the core group.
80 Indian soldiers are in Maldives
Currently, about 80 Indian military personnel are in Maldives, mainly to operate two helicopters and one aircraft. Through these, hundreds of medical rescue and humanitarian aid missions have been completed. Relations between the two countries came under strain after Muizzu came to power in November last year. After assuming office, Muizzu, widely considered a pro-China leader, said he would fulfill his election promise by expelling Indian military personnel from the country. Muizzu (45) had defeated pro-India candidate Ibrahim Mohammad Solih in the presidential elections held in September last year. Maldives is a major maritime neighbor of India in the Indian Ocean region and overall bilateral relations in the areas of defense and security had progressed under the previous (Maldives) government.
Muizzu had given India an ultimatum of March 15
Muizzu was sworn in as the new President of Maldives on 17 November. After this, he asked India to withdraw its military personnel from their country by March 15. A day after taking oath for the top post, he had appealed to withdraw Indian military personnel from Maldives. After the first meeting of the Core Group on January 14, the Ministry of External Affairs had said that both sides were looking to find a mutually acceptable solution for the operation of the Indian aviation platform providing humanitarian assistance and medical evacuation services to the people of Maldives. Can be continued. (Language)
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