Tuesday 21st May 2024
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Maldives and India Have Started Formal Talks on the Withdrawal of Indian Troops

Formal talks have begun between the Maldivian Government and India regarding the withdrawal of Indian troops from Maldives. The official discussions that were initiated today were announced last month by President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu after meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the COP 28 summit held in Dubai.
Senior Indian officials arrived at the Maldivian Foreign Ministry today at 9:30 am to commence the first meeting of the “Co-Group.” The delegation from India includes the Indian High Commissioner to Maldives Munu Mahawar, along with senior officials of the High Commission and a senior Indian Army Official. The Foreign Ministry stated that the meeting is for bilateral talks, however, no further details have been released.
During Dr. Muizzu’s campaign, a significant focus was on the removal of the Indian military presence in Maldives. The government has recently announced that there are currently 88 Indian military personnel in the country. The Indian government has agreed to withdraw its military personnel from Maldives, the President told reporters at the airport after attending the COP 28 summit.
The President said the withdrawal of Indian troops would be done through diplomatic means. He has asked India to give an exact date for their repatriation before March.
Dr. Muizzu yesterday gave a strong response to India.
"There should be no discrimination between the size of the country, the proximity of one country to another, or the closeness of the country. There is a principle [in China-Maldives relations] that big countries should not discriminate against small countries," he said.
The President also announced yesterday that the government will expand "Aasandha" (National Health Insurance Scheme) services to Thailand and the UAE to reduce Maldives' dependence on India for medical treatment. Also Instead of Depending solely on India to import medicines, the government is trying to import medicines from Europe.
From next March, patients will not be transported within the Maldives by Indian helicopters and Dornier planes as the Maldivian government is initiating an air ambulance service.
In addition, the government has now repaid a 771 million MVR treasury bond sold by the previous government to the State Bank of India.