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India extends debt repayment deadline: Maldives Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer

The foreign ministers of India and the Maldives met in New Delhi for the first time ever since relations between the two neighbouring nations soured. External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar stressed that relations between the two nations are dependent on mutual interests.

Edited By: Shubham Bajpai Male Published on: May 12, 2024 22:41 IST
External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar with Maldivian
Image Source : X/MOOSAZAMEER External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar with Maldivian counterpart Moosa Zameer in New Delhi.

Moosa Zameer, the Maldivian Foreign Minister has said that significant strides have been made in expediting India-assisted projects in the Maldives as he underscored the government's commitment to prioritising the resumption and completion of these projects.

Zameer visited India from May 8 to 10 on his very first bilateral official visit. He asserted that he and Indian Minister of External Affairs, Dr. S Jaishankar engaged in bilateral discussions on May 9 to address crucial matters aimed at expediting the projects initiated with India's financial assistance.

He highlighted that the discussions with Jaishankar focused on the operational dynamics of the committees entrusted with executing the India-initiated projects.

India made no demands in exchange of extension: Zameer

Zameer was speaking at a press conference held in the Maldives President's Office. He said New Delhi has assured to extend the repayment deadline for $150 million of a $200 million debt. Apparently, the loan was secured by the previous government upon assuming office in 2019.

Zameer said that USD 50 million of the total USD 200 million owed to India was repaid in January. He emphasised that the government in India has not made any demands in exchange for extending the debt repayment period of the remaining USD 150 million.

Zameer also highlighted that multiple initiatives have been kickstarted through loans and grants from India during the previous administration. 

No intention of removing Indian doctors, said Zameer

According to Zameer, the Maldivian government is committed to prioritising the resumption and completion of these projects. His visit to India came amid a bitterness in the bilateral ties between the two countries since pro-China president Mohamed Muizzu assumed office six months back.

The relations between both countries came under severe strain after Muizzu insisted on withdrawal of Indian military personnel operating three military platforms in the island nation.

A couple of days ago, 76 Indian military personnel were replaced by civilian employees of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited which manufactured the two helicopters gifted by India. Zameer said that Male has no intention of removing the doctors from India at Senahiya.

(With PTI Inputs)

ALSO READ | 'Neighbourhood first': Jaishankar assures visiting Maldivian counterpart in a fresh attempt to mend ties

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