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Indian envoy to Maldives holds talks with Foreign Minister amid President Muizzu's call for withdrawing troops

Zameer was appointed as the Maldives Foreign Minister by Muizzu after the latter took oath as the President on November 17 at a ceremony attended by Mahawar and Union Minister Kiren Rijiju. He promised External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to work with India on several issues of mutual interest.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Male Published on: November 24, 2023 12:23 IST
Indian envoy to Maldives Munu Mahawar with Maldivian
Image Source : AMB MUNU MAHAWAR/X Indian envoy to Maldives Munu Mahawar with Maldivian Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer.

Indian Ambassador to Maldives Munu Mahawar on Thursday called on Maldivian Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer and held a 'productive discussion' focusing on the special partnership between the two countries.

This comes after newly-elected President Mohamed Muizzu formally requested the Indian government to withdraw its military personnel from the 500,000-strong island country, raising concerns of a strain between countries. India and Maldives had enjoyed a strong bilateral relationship under former Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

"Delighted to call on H.E. Foreign Minister @MoosaZameer. Conveyed greetings from EAM @DrSJaishankar. Had very productive discussion on enhancing the special partnership between India and the Maldives," said Mahawar on social platform X.

During the meeting, Zameer expressed gratitude for the continued support of India in the Maldives' socio-economic development and emphasised on the importance of timely completion of the ongoing developmental projects. 

"I also reaffirmed commitment to working closely to consolidate the Maldives-India bilateral ties," said Zameer on X.

Zameer was appointed as the Maldives Foreign Minister by Muizzu after the latter took oath as the President on November 17 at a ceremony attended by Mahawar and Union Minister Kiren Rijiju. The visit between Mahawar and Zameer comes after he and Muizzu visited the site of the Greater Male Connectivity Project on Wednesday.

The Male connectivity project was launched in 2022 and is being built under India's $100 million grant and $400 million line of credit. It connects the capital Male with the adjoining islands of Villingli, Gulhifalhu, and Thilafushi.

Zameer was congratulated by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on his appointment as Foreign Minister, to which he responded by saying that he looked forward to working with India on issues of mutual interest and concern and advancing the time-tested relationship between the two countries.

Muizzu's stance on Indian military personnel

After becoming the Maldives President, the widely considered pro-China leader Muizzu formally requested India to withdraw its military personnel from the country, during a meeting with Union Minister Kiren Rijiju. 

"The President noted that at the Presidential Election held in September, the Maldivian people had given him a strong mandate to make the request to India and expressed the hope that India will honour the democratic will of the people of the Maldives," a statement from Maldives President's Office said.

India and the Maldives agreed to discuss 'workable solutions' to continue the use of Indian military platforms in the archipelago as they serve the interests of both countries, said government sources on the meeting between Rijiju and Muizzu.

Muizzu not only demanded the withdrawal of 77 Indian personnel and also ordered a review of 100 agreements with India, leading to concerns that the India-Maldives relationship is taking a turn for the worse.

(with PTI inputs)

ALSO READ | Explained | Why does Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu want Indian security personnel out?

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