Saturday, May 25th, 2024

Maldives Foreign Minister Musa Zameer leaves for India on first official visit

Maldivian Foreign Minister Musa Zameer left for India on Wednesday for his first bilateral official visit after taking charge at the Foreign Affairs Office of the Maldives.

Upon leaving for India, the minister said he was looking forward to meeting External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and discussing cooperation between the two countries.

Sharing about his departure on X, the Maldivian Minister said, “Departing for New Delhi on my first bilateral official visit. I look forward to meeting my counterpart External Affairs Minister Dr @DrSJaishankar and discussing deepening and enhancing cooperation between #Maldives and #India for the mutual benefit of our people.

This official visit is taking place amid the diplomatic standoff between the two countries.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the Foreign Minister of Maldives will reach New Delhi on Wednesday evening and will hold a meeting with Foreign Minister Jaishankar on Thursday.

The visit comes as India has said it will replace its military personnel from the Maldives before May 10.

On 3 May, India and Maldives held the fourth meeting of the bilateral high-level core group and reviewed the replacement of Indian military personnel from the island nation by 10 May and said that the government will replace the military personnel before the scheduled date. Earlier, the Mohammed Muizzu-led Maldives government had formally requested that India withdraw its troops from Male.

The Maldives Foreign Ministry said in a press release that the two sides reviewed the existing bilateral cooperation. “A range of issues of mutual interest including development and defense cooperation were discussed.”

“Both sides expressed satisfaction that the Government of India will be replacing military personnel on the last of the three aviation platforms by May 10, and that all logistics arrangements are proceeding as per schedule,” the press release said.

It was also agreed that the fifth meeting of the High-level Core Group would be held in Male on a mutually agreed date during the month of June/July.

Last month, the Ministry of External Affairs had said that the first batch of Indian personnel in Maldives had been replaced by technical personnel.

The Ministry of External Affairs had earlier informed that both India and Maldives have agreed on a set of mutually practical solutions to enable continued operation of Indian aviation platforms that provide humanitarian and medical evacuation services to the people of Maldives.

Last month, the External Affairs Ministry had said the first batch of Indian technical personnel had reached Maldives to replace defense personnel.

India and Maldives have held two high-level Core Group meetings, and the third is expected soon.

Removal of Indian troops from the country was the main election campaign of Muizzu’s party. Currently, around 70 Indian troops are deployed in Maldives along with Dornier 228 maritime patrol aircraft and two HAL Dhruv helicopters.

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