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India and Maldives Reach Agreement On Continued Operation Of Indian Aviation Platforms

India and the Maldives have resolved the issue of Indian military personnel withdrawal, ensuring the continued operation of aviation platforms for humanitarian and medical services in the island nation after fruitful high-level talks.

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Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu and PM Modi
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India and the Maldives have reached an agreement on practical solutions to ensure the ongoing operation of Indian aviation platforms in the island nation. The resolution comes after extensive discussions between the two sides in New Delhi, focusing on addressing the recent request by Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu for the withdrawal of all Indian military personnel from the Maldives by March 15.

The high-level core group from India and the Maldives convened in their second meeting, building on their initial discussions in Male two weeks prior. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced that both nations have agreed upon measures to sustain the operation of Indian aviation platforms, specifically those involved in providing humanitarian and medical evacuation services to the people of the Maldives.

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The MEA stated that the next meeting of the high-level core group is scheduled to take place in Male' on a date convenient for both parties. During the recent meeting in New Delhi, discussions covered various bilateral cooperation issues, with a focus on enhancing the partnership and expediting ongoing development cooperation projects.

The establishment of the core group was initiated following a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Muizzu on the sidelines of the COP28 summit in Dubai in December. Currently, around 80 Indian military personnel are in the Maldives, primarily involved in operating two helicopters and an aircraft that have been instrumental in numerous medical evacuations and humanitarian missions.

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Tensions between the two nations arose after Muizzu, perceived as a pro-China leader, assumed the presidency in November, defeating the India-friendly incumbent. Muizzu had pledged to fulfill his election promise of removing Indian military personnel from the country. The Maldives, a crucial maritime neighbor in the Indian Ocean Region, had witnessed positive bilateral ties, particularly in defense and security, under the previous government in Male.

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