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Business News/ News / World/  India-Maldives row: Jaishankar holds 'frank conversation' with Zameer on Indian troop withdrawal
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India-Maldives row: Jaishankar holds 'frank conversation' with Zameer on Indian troop withdrawal

India-Maldives row: The meeting between Jaishankar and Zameer in Kampala came amid an unease in the Maldives' bilateral ties with India. Zameer said the ongoing discussions on the withdrawal of Indian military troops figured in his talks with Jaishankar.

India-Maldives row: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (left) and Maldives Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer, in Kampala on Thursday. (Dr. S. Jaishankar-X)Premium
India-Maldives row: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (left) and Maldives Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer, in Kampala on Thursday. (Dr. S. Jaishankar-X)

India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met Maldives Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer to discuss bilateral ties between the two countries, and the withdrawal of Indian troops from the Maldives. Jaishankar in his post on X mentioned that they had a ‘frank conversation’, while Zameer mentioned talking about the troop withdrawal. The Maldives has asked India to withdraw its troops by March 15.

The meeting in Kampala comes amid an unease in the Maldives' bilateral ties with India. The diplomatic tension brewed over ‘derogatory’ remarks made by three Maldivian ministers on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lakshwadeep visit. The Maldives' newly elected President Mohamed Muizzu also visited China, skipping India, unlike his predecessors, playing further into the controversy.

On Thursday, EAM Jaishankar and his Maldivian counterpart Zameer had a ‘frank conversation’ on ties between the two countries. Jaishankar is in Kampala to represent India at the two-day summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which begins on Friday.

"Met Maldives FM @MoosaZameer today in Kampala. A frank conversation on India-Maldives ties. Also discussed NAM related issues," Jaishankar posted on X, sharing a photograph of the meeting.

In a post on X, Zameer said it was a pleasure to meet Jaishankar on the margins of the NAM Summit.

"We exchanged views on the ongoing high-level discussions on the withdrawal of Indian military personnel, as well as expediting the completion of ongoing development projects in the Maldives, and cooperation within SAARC and NAM," he wrote.

"We are committed to further strengthening and expanding our cooperation," the Maldivian minister wrote. He also posted a photograph of the meeting.

Zameer said the ongoing "high-level discussions" on the withdrawal of Indian military personnel figured in his talks with Jaishankar, adding Male is committed to further strengthening and expanding bilateral cooperation.

The India-Maldives ties came under some stress as Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu, widely seen as a pro-China leader, maintained after assuming charge as the president in November that he would keep his election promise of evicting Indian military personnel from his country.

A row erupted on social media earlier this month when a minister and some other leaders in the Maldives used derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he posted a video of him on a pristine beach in Lakshadweep.

Maldivian President Muizzu asked India to withdraw all Indian military personnel deployed in the island nation by March 15 even as the two sides held the first meeting of "High-Level Core Group" in Male that primarily focused on the contentious issue.

The next meeting of the "Core Group" is set to take place in New Delhi early next month.

The Maldives is one of India's key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region and the overall bilateral ties including in areas of defence and security witnessed an upward trajectory under the previous government in Male.

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Published: 19 Jan 2024, 10:53 AM IST
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