Working Towards a Consensus: India, Maldives in Talks Over Military Presence Solutions

Working Towards a Consensus: India, Maldives in Talks Over Military Presence Solutions

Maldives - India and the Maldives are currently engaged in discussions regarding "feasible solutions" to maintain the deployment of India's military personnel in the archipelago, according to sources cited by the news agency PTI. The newly inaugurated Maldivian government has formally requested India to withdraw its military presence from the Maldives. Union Minister Kiren Rijiju, in a meeting with Mohamed Muizzu, affirmed India's dedication to enhancing substantial bilateral cooperation and strong people-to-people connections.

President Mohamed Muizzu, who assumed office recently, campaigned on the pledge to remove Indian military personnel from the archipelago but emphasized that he intends to achieve this through diplomatic channels. In the meeting, Muizzu raised the matter of Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives for activities such as medical evacuation and countering drug trafficking. Government sources quoted by PTI indicated that both governments agreed to explore practical solutions for ongoing collaboration through the use of these platforms, deeming it in the interest of the Maldivian people.

The Maldives holds significance as one of India's key maritime neighbors in the Indian Ocean Region, and bilateral ties, particularly in defense and security, have witnessed positive growth in recent years. The Maldives stands as a major beneficiary of India's Neighbourhood First policy.

The government of the Maldives, in an official statement, noted that President Muizzu formally made the request during a meeting with India's Minister of Earth Sciences, Kiren Rijiju, at the President’s office. Muizzu, who defeated the incumbent Ibrahim Solih in the recent presidential runoff, expressed the request despite Solih's perceived favorable stance towards India.

Rijiju, in addition to conveying Prime Minister Narendra Modi's greetings to President Muizzu, posted on X after the meeting, stating, “Privileged to call on President H.E. Dr. Mohamed Muizzu. Conveyed greetings from Hon'ble PM @NarendraModi and reiterated India's commitment to further strengthen the substantive bilateral cooperation and robust people-to-people ties.”

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