MALE: In a major diplomatic development, India and the Maldives have reached a consensus to fast-track the withdrawal of Indian military personnel from the island nation. The decision emerged from the first meeting of the High-Level Core Group between the two countries, held in Male’ on Sunday.
BILATERAL COOPERATION REVIEW AND DISCUSSIONS
At the meeting hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Maldives, both sides meticulously reviewed their existing bilateral cooperation. The discussions encompassed a broad spectrum of mutual interests, with a particular focus on development cooperation, as detailed in the press release by the Maldives’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
WILLINGNESS TO INTENSIFY COOPERATION
Expressing a shared commitment to intensify cooperation, both nations agreed on the swift withdrawal of Indian military personnel. The official statement emphasized this joint decision, and plans were set for the second meeting of the High-Level Core Group at a time convenient for both parties.
AVIATION PLATFORMS AND ONGOING PROJECTS
Earlier in the day, the Ministry of External Affairs disclosed that discussions also revolved around finding a mutually workable solution to sustain the operation of Indian aviation platforms, crucial for providing humanitarian and medical evacuation services to the people of the Maldives. The talks further extended to enhancing bilateral cooperation and expediting the implementation of ongoing projects.
MALDIVES PRESIDENT’S MARCH 15 DEADLINE FOR TROOPS WITHDRAWAL
Local media in the Maldives reported that President Mohamed Muizzu urged the Indian government to withdraw its troops from the island nation before March 15. Notably, this move aligns with Muizzu’s party’s campaign promise, making the removal of Indian troops a focal point.
FOLLOWING THROUGH ON CAMPAIGN PROMISE
Muizzu, soon after assuming office, officially requested the Indian government to withdraw its military personnel from the Maldives. Last December, he claimed that, after a constructive dialogue with the Indian government, an agreement had been reached to withdraw Indian military personnel, marking a significant development in the diplomatic relations between the two nations.