India, Maldives to discuss 'workable solutions' for continued use of Indian military platforms in Maldives
NEW DELHI: India and the Maldives are discussing "workable solutions" to continue use of India's military personnel at the archipelago, news agency PTI reported quoting sources. The new Maldivian government has officially asked India to withdraw its military presence from Maldives. Earlier today, Union minister Kiren Rijiju met Mohamed Muizzu and reiterated India's commitment to further strengthen the substantive bilateral cooperation and robust people-to-people ties.
Newly sworn-in Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu campaigned on a promise to evict Indian military personnel from the archipelago, but had asserted that he will achieve this through diplomatic means.
"Muizzu, in the meeting, brought up the issue of Indian military personnel present in the Maldives for operating aircraft for medical evacuation and to counter drug trafficking," PTI quoted government sources as saying.
"It was agreed that the two governments would discuss workable solutions for continued cooperation through the use of these platforms as this serves the interests of the people of the Maldives," it added.
The Maldives is one of India's key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region and the overall bilateral ties including in areas of defence and security have been on an upward trajectory in the last few years. The Maldives is also one of the biggest beneficiaries of India's Neighbourhood First policy.
"President Dr Mohamed Muizzu formally made the request when he met the minister of earth sciences of India, Mr. Kiren Rijiju, at the President’s office earlier today," the government of Maldives said in a statement. Muizzu had defeated the incumbent Ibrahim Solih, who was seen as more favourably inclined towards India, in a presidential run off last month.
During the meeting, Rijiju also conveyed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's greetings to President Muizzu. “Privileged to call on President H.E. Dr. Mohamed Muizzu. Conveyed greetings from Hon'ble PM @NarendraModi and reiterated India's commitment to further strengthen the substantive bilateral cooperation and robust people-to-people ties,” Rijiju posted on X after the meeting.