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February 25, 2024
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India-Maldives Discuss Military Withdrawal Amid Tensions


India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met his Maldivian counterpart Moosa Zameer on the sidelines of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Kampala. The two leaders discussed range of issues including the withdrawal of Indian military personally from the Island Nation.

The discussions between the two leaders unfolded against the backdrop of increasing unease in the bilateral ties between the Maldives and India.

Jaishankar, currently in Kampala to represent India at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit starting Friday, took to social media to share insights into the meeting. In a tweet, he mentioned, “Met Maldives FM @MoosaZameer today in Kampala. A frank conversation on India-Maldives ties. Also discussed NAM related issues,” accompanying the post with a photograph from the encounter.

Maldivian Foreing Minister too expressed his pleasure at meeting Jaishankar during the NAM Summit. In a social media post, he outlined the topics covered during the exchange, including ongoing discussions about the withdrawal of Indian military personnel, the expeditious completion of development projects in the Maldives, and cooperation within SAARC and NAM. Zameer emphasized their joint commitment to strengthen and expand cooperation.

The strain in India-Maldives ties arose with the assumption of Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu, perceived as pro-China, who vowed to fulfill his election promise of evicting Indian military personnel from the country. Recent social media incidents, with derogatory remarks against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, further fueled the tensions, which subsiquently lead to the suspension of three ministers by Muizzu Govt.

Despite recent challenges, the historical ties between India and the Maldives, particularly in the areas of defense and security, have witnessed positive developments. Notably, India’s Neighbourhood First policy has significantly benefited the Maldives, with key initiatives like the Greater Male Connectivity Project aiming to strengthen infrastructure links between the two nations.

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