India, Maldives Seeking Mutually Workable Solution: MEA
India and Maldives held a core group meeting on January 14 in which both sides deliberated on finding a “mutually workable solution” to ensure the “continued operation” of Indian aviation platforms providing humanitarian and Medvec services, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.
The MEA announced that the next meeting will be held in the national capital.
During the core group meeting, both nations delved “on several aspects of the bilateral relationship,” MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said during a weekly briefing while sharing insights on the deliberations that took place in the meeting.
“We mentioned that both sides held discussions on finding a mutually workable solution to enable continued operation of Indian aviation platforms that provide humanitarian and Medvec services to the people of the Maldives,” he also said.
“The next meeting is to be held in India to take discussions forward. So that is where the situation as far as the Maldives is concerned,” Jaiswal added.
When asked if India received a formal request from Maldives to withdraw the Indian military, Jaiswal said, “Whatever’s discussed was put out in the press release. That is where the situation actually stands. It is an ongoing process. Both sides held discussions on finding mutually workable solutions…This is an ongoing discussion, so things will go forward or things will be discussed in the next meeting of the core group subsequently soon.”
India and the Maldives also discussed enhancing bilateral cooperation and expediting the implementation of ongoing projects, the MEA had said earlier.
India and the Maldives on January 14 “agreed to fast-track the withdrawal of Indian military personnel” from the island nation, according to the Maldives’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The first meeting of the High-Level Core Group between the Maldives and India took place in Male’.
“During the meeting held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives, both sides reviewed the existing bilateral cooperation. Discussions were held on a wide range of issues of mutual interest, including development cooperation,” the Maldives’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release earlier.
“Both sides expressed willingness to intensify cooperation and agreed to fast-track the withdrawal of Indian military personnel,” it also said, adding, “It was agreed that the second meeting of the High-Level Core Group will be held at a mutually convenient time.”
Earlier, the Maldives local media reported that Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu has asked the Indian government to withdraw the Indian troops from the island nation before March 15.
Notably, the removal of Indian troops in the Maldives was the main campaign of Muizzu’s party. Currently, there are around 70 Indian troops, along with Dornier 228 maritime patrol aircraft and two HAL Dhruv helicopters, stationed in the Maldives.
On the second day of assuming office, Muizzu officially requested the Indian government to withdraw its military personnel from the Maldives.
In December last year, President Muizzu claimed that, after dialogue with the Indian government, an agreement was reached to withdraw Indian military personnel.
Apart from withdrawal of Indian military personnel, a massive row was triggered after the Maldives deputy minister, along with other cabinet members and government officials, made disparaging and unsavoury references to PM Modi’s Lakshadweep visit.
The Maldives government has, however, distanced itself from the remarks made by its ministers. Maldivian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Moosa Zameer, said that these remarks against foreign leaders are “unacceptable” and do not reflect the official position of the Maldives government. (ANI)
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