The Maldives official said Indian High Commissioner Munu Mahawar and some senior officials are attending the meeting, while senior officials from the Maldives Foreign Ministry and the President’s Office will represent the Maldives…reports Asian Lite News
Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu has asked the Indian government to withdraw the Indian troops from the island nation before March 15, Maldives-based Adhadhu newspaper reported on Sunday.
This comes after a meeting between officials from the Indian High Commission in the Maldives and officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Male.
Abdulla Nazim, the Policy Director of the Maldives President’s Office, told reporters that President Muizzu had proposed to withdraw Indian troops from the Maldives.
“During the meeting, the President proposed the removal of Indian troops before March 15. The government, the President’s Office and the President have proposed this date for the agenda of the meeting. Those discussions are now underway,” Adhadhu newspaper quoted Nazim as saying at the press conference.
However, the Ministry of External Affairs has not issued any statement on the reported meeting so far.
Nazim further said that Indian troops cannot stay in Maldives and that is “what the people want,” the local newspaper reported.
“The most important point is that Indian troops cannot stay in this country. That is the policy of this government. That is the promise of President Mohammed Muizzu and what the people want,” he said.
The Maldives official said Indian High Commissioner Munu Mahawar and some senior officials are attending the meeting, while senior officials from the Maldives Foreign Ministry and the President’s Office will represent the Maldives.
“The meeting is being attended by the Indian High Commissioner and Joint Secretary as well as several other senior officials from India. Senior officials from the Foreign Ministry and some senior officials from the President’s Office are also participating on behalf of Maldives,” Nazim said.
Officials in the meeting include Chief of Staff of the President’s Office Abdulla Fayaz, Ambassador at Large Ali Naseer, Maldives Ambassador to India Ibrahim Shaheeb and Chief of Defense Force Abdul Raheem Abdul Latheef, according to Adhadhu newspaper.
The removal of Indian troops in the Maldives was the main 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.
On the second day of assuming office, Muizzu officially requested the Indian government to withdraw its military personnel from the Maldives.
In December last year, President Muizzu claimed that, after dialogue with the Indian government, an agreement was reached to withdraw Indian military personnel.
A diplomatic row erupted over disparaging remarks made by some Maldivian deputy ministers and government officials against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lakshadweep visit.
Several Maldivian politicians, including former presidents and ministers, too, condemned the remarks and reiterated that India was a close and important partner for the island nation.
In the face of online fury and a flurry of cancellations of scheduled visits to the island country, the Maldivian government distanced itself from the remarks made by its ministers.
Meanwhile, Muizzu was on a state visit to China from January 7-12 at the invitation of President Xi Jinping. Xi also hosted a state banquet for President Muizzu and First Lady Sajidha Mohamed. (ANI)