India to replace military personnel in three aviation platforms in Maldives amid diplomatic row

  • No details on the withdrawal of all Indian military personnel from the Indian Ocean archipelago were mentioned in the joint statement.

Written By Saurav Mukherjee
Updated3 Feb 2024
File: Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu.
File: Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu.(AP)

Amid the ongoing tensions between India and the Maldives, both the nations on February 2 held the second round of talks in New Delhi on Male’s demand for the withdrawal of all Indian military personnel from the Indian Ocean archipelago.

After the meeting, a joint statement was released where it was said that both the sides agreed on a set of mutually workable solutions to enable the continued operation of Indian aviation platforms that provide humanitarian and medvac services to the Maldives people.

No details on the withdrawal of all Indian military personnel from the Indian Ocean archipelago were mentioned in the statement. However, it added that the next meeting of the high-level core group will be held in Male on a mutually convenient date.

"It was agreed to hold the next meeting of the high-level core group in Male on a mutually convenient date," the Ministry of External Affairs said.

ALSO READ: India-Maldives row: 'These are internal matters', says MEA on President Mohammed Muizzu's impeachment reports

Earlier, Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu had asked India to withdraw the military personnel by March 15 when the high-level core group – set up by the two countries – held its first meeting in Male on January 14.

The two sides agreed to fast-track the withdrawal of the personnel then. However, the Indian side had said more discussions would be held on the issue.

The decision to set up the high-level core group was taken after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldivian President Muizzu on the sidelines of the COP28 summit in Dubai in December.

In January, Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu asked India to withdraw all its military personnel from the island nation by March 15.

Currently, around 80 Indian military personnel are in the Maldives primarily to operate two helicopters and an aircraft which carried out hundreds of medical evacuations and humanitarian missions.

Severed ties

Since Muizzu came to power in November, the ties between the two countries have come under some strain.

Muizzu, widely seen as a pro-China leader, had maintained he would keep his election promise of evicting Indian military personnel from his country. He called for the withdrawal of Indian military personnel from the Maldives a day after taking charge of the top office.

With agency inputs.

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