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India-Maldives ties based on mutual interests, reciprocal sensitivity, says Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Maldives Minister of Foreign Affairs Moosa Zameer (Image Credit: @DrSJaishankar)

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said that the development of ties between India and Maldives is based on mutual interests and reciprocal sensitivity of the two countries.

Jaishankar held delegation-level talks with Maldivian Foreign Minister Mossa Zameer, who had arrived in India a day earlier.

In his opening remarks, Jaishankar extended a “very very warm welcome” to Zameer on his first visit to the country in his current capacity, which the EAM said provides an opportunity to discuss bilateral ties and chart out future directions.

“As close and proximate neighbours, the development of our ties is obviously based on mutual interests and reciprocal sensitivity,” Jaishankar said.

“As far as India is concerned, these are articulated in terms of our Neighbourhood First policy and SAGAR vision.I hope that our meeting today will enable us to strengthen the convergence of our perspectives in various domains,” Jaishankar said.

He said that India has been a key provider of development assistance to the Maldives and the projects have benefited the lives of the people of the country and contributed directly to the quality of life.

“They range from infrastructure projects and social initiatives to medical evacuation and health facilities,” he said

He noted that India has also extended financial support to Maldives on favourable terms in the past and that India has been a first responder for Maldives on various occasions.

Jaishankar said, “Our cooperation has also enhanced this security and well being of your country through shared activities, equipment provisioning, capacity building and training.”

External Affairs Minister expressed hope that his meeting with Zameer would enables to strengthen the convergence of perspectives in various sectors.

He stressed that close partnerships with neighbours is of great value as the world is passing through a volatile and uncertain time.

Jaishankar said, “The world is today passing through a volatile and uncertain period. In such times, as we saw during COVID, during natural disasters and economic difficulties, close partnerships with neighbours are of great value. So, today we will be reviewing the various dimensions of our ties. It is in our common interest that we reach an understanding of how best we take our relationship forward.”

Zameer’s visit to India comes amid strained ties with Maldives under President Mohamed Muizzu’s government and as India said that it will replace its military personnel from Maldives before May 10.

During his visit, the two sides will discuss bilateral and regional issues and seek ways to provide impetus to our multifaceted relationship.

In a post on X, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) official spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal stated, “Warm welcome to FM @MoosaZameer of Maldives on his official visit to India. Discussions on bilateral & regional issues and seeking ways to provide impetus to our multifaceted relationship lie ahead.”

On May 3, India and Maldives held the 4th meeting of the bilateral High-Level Core Group and reviewed the replacement of Indian military personnel from the Island nation by May 10 and noted that the government will replace military personnel before the noted time.

Earlier the Mohamed Muizzu-led Maldives government had formally requested that India withdraw its troops from Male. The Maldives Foreign Ministry said in a press release that both sides reviewed the existing bilateral cooperation.

In a press release, the Maldives Foreign Ministry said, “Discussions were held on a wide range of issues of mutual interest, including development and defence cooperation.”

“Both sides noted with satisfaction that the Government of India will replace military personnel at the last of the three aviation platforms by May 10, and all the logistical arrangements are going ahead as per schedule,” the press release added.

It was further agreed that the fifth meeting of the High-Level Core Group will be held in Male on a mutually agreeable date during the month of June/July.

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

The external affairs ministry earlier informed that both India and the Maldives have agreed on a set of mutually workable solutions to enable the continued operation of Indian aviation platforms that provide humanitarian and medical evacuation services to the people of the Maldives.

In April, the MEA said that the first batch of Indian technical personnel reached the Maldives to replace the defence personnel.India and the Maldives have held two high-level core group meetings, and the third one is expected to take place soon.

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