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India To Replace Troops In Maldives With Competent Technical Personnel: MEA Amid Diplomatic Row

India To Replace Troops In Maldives With Competent Technical Personnel: MEA Amid Diplomatic Row

New Delhi: After being prodded by Male to withdraw its troops stationed in the island nation, India on Thursday said it will replace its personnel tasked with manning three aviation platforms in Maldives with “competent” technical persons. However, New Delhi clarified that it was firm in its assertion that it was important partner in the development of the Maldives.

“I would like to say that the present personnel will be replaced by competent Indian technical personnel,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said.

After the second meeting of the high-level core group aimed at addressing military personnel issues, the Maldivian foreign ministry announced that India would replace its military contingent in two phases by May 10.

President Mohamed Muizzu stated on Monday that the initial group of Indian military personnel would be repatriated before March 10, with the remainder to follow suit by May 10.

The core group’s second meeting took place in New Delhi on February 2, with its establishment stemming from discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Muizzu during the COP28 summit in Dubai last December.

Currently, approximately 80 Indian military personnel are stationed in the Maldives, primarily tasked with operating two helicopters and an aircraft for various medical evacuations and humanitarian missions.

Notably, relations between the two nations have experienced some strain since Muizzu assumed power in November. Widely perceived as favouring closer ties with China, Muizzu reiterated his election promise to remove Indian military personnel from the Maldives.

Addressing the situation, Jaiswal affirmed India’s steadfast commitment as a developmental partner to the Maldives, and said, “We remain an important committed development partner for the Maldives.”

Regarding budgetary allocations for India’s development assistance to the Maldives, Jaiswal noted a certain amount had been earmarked and could be subject to revision. Initially set at Rs 400 crore for the 2023-24 period, the revised estimate soared to Rs 770.90 crore, nearly doubling the initial allocation.

The Maldives holds significance as one of India’s key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region, with bilateral ties, including defence and security cooperation, seeing positive advancements under the previous Male administration.

Doonited Affiliated: Syndicate News Hunt

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