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India To Replace Military Personnel In Maldives By May 10 Under ‘Mutually Workable Solution’

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said a ‘set of mutually workable solutions’ was agreed upon with the Maldives for continuing the operations of Indian aviation platforms in the island nation.

PTI
External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar. Photo: PTI
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Maldives has said India will replace its military personnel operating the three aviation platforms in the country by May 10.

The Maldivian foreign ministry said the first phase of the process would be completed by March 10, after a high-level meeting in Delhi between the two sides on the contentious issue.

"Both sides agreed that the government of India will replace the military personnel in one of the three aviation platforms by March 10, and will complete replacing military personnel in the other two platforms by May 10," it said in a statement.

On the other hand, India said a "set of mutually workable solutions" was agreed upon with the Maldives for continuing the operations of Indian aviation platforms in the island nation.

Both sides "agreed on a set of mutually workable solutions to enable continued operation of Indian aviation platforms" that provide humanitarian and medical evacuation services to the people of the Maldives, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement following the core-group meeting.

The move came against the backdrop of Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu's call for a withdrawal of Indian military personnel from his country by March 15.

It was agreed that the next meeting of the high-level core group would be held in Male on a mutually convenient date, the MEA said.

Muizzu, widely seen as a pro-China leader, asked India last month to withdraw all its military personnel from the island nation by March 15.

Currently, around 80 Indian military personnel are in the Maldives primarily to operate two helicopters and an aircraft that have carried out hundreds of medical evacuations and humanitarian missions, PTI reported.

The Indian platforms have been providing humanitarian and medical evacuation services to the people of the Maldives for the last few years.

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

The Indian military personnel could be replaced by civilians who have expertise in operating the three platforms, PTI report mentioned.

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

Muizzu maintained after assuming charge as the president that he will keep his election promise of evicting Indian military personnel from his country.

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