India, Maldives second core group meeting
India, Maldives second core group meeting

India, Maldives hold second core group meeting on troops issue

India and the Maldives are holding crucial talks on Friday with a focus on finding a mutually workable solution to enable continued operation of the Indian military platforms in the island nation, people familiar with the matter said.

New Delhi | India and the Maldives are holding crucial talks on Friday with a focus on finding a mutually workable solution to enable continued operation of the Indian military platforms in the island nation, people familiar with the matter said.

The second meeting of the India-Maldives high level core group is underway in Delhi over two weeks after the first one in Male could not make any significant headway on the contentious matter.

The core group meeting is underway with a focus on finding a mutually acceptable solution, one of the persons cited above said.

The two sides decided to set up the core group following a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldivian President Muizzu on the sidelines of the COP28 summit in Dubai in December.

Last month, Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu asked India to withdraw all its military personnel from the island nation by March 15.

At present, around 80 Indian military personnel are in the Maldives primarily to operate two helicopters and an aircraft which carried out hundreds of medical evacuations and humanitarian missions.

The ties between the two countries came under some strain since Muizzu came to power in November.

After assuming charge, Muizzu, widely seen as a pro-China leader, maintained he will keep his election promise of evicting Indian military personnel from his country.

Muizzu, 45, defeated India-friendly incumbent Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in the presidential runoff held in September last year.

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 witnessed an upward trajectory under the previous government in Male.

Muizzu was sworn in as the new Maldivian president on November 17.

A day after taking charge of the top office, he called for the withdrawal of Indian military personnel from the Maldives.

After the first meeting of the core group on January 14, the Ministry of External Affairs said that sides were looking at finding a mutually workable solution to enable continued operation of Indian aviation platforms that provide humanitarian and medical evacuation services to the people of Maldives.

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