New Delhi, Malé Core Group To Look Into Indian Defence Platforms’ Maintenance: Sources

India-Maldives Ties: A core group set up between India and Maldives will look into the issue of maintenance and operation of Indian defence platforms that have been given to Malé by New Delhi during the previous Ibrahim Solih regime there even as new President Mohamed Muizzu has decided to remove Indian military personnel from his country, sources told ABP LIVE.

According to the sources, during the recent meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Muizzu that was held on the margins of the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, the “continued usefulness of the Indian platforms” was discussed. 

This was the first meeting between both the leaders. The Maldivian side “acknowledged the utility of the platforms”, the sources added.

“The fact that it is an important segment of our bilateral development partnership is recognised by both sides,” said an official source two days after the meeting was held in Dubai. 

ABP LIVE had earlier reported that the matter concerning removal of Indian military personnel and platforms were discussed during the meeting. ALSO READ | Maldives President Tones Down Rhetoric On India, Agrees On Joint Committee

‘Discussions On How To Keep These Operational Are Ongoing’

India has given several defence platforms from naval boats, aircraft to military choppers to Maldives that are engaged in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) activities. 

India has gifted Dornier Aircraft and two helicopters to the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF). In May this year, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh handed over a Fast Patrol Vessel and a Landing Craft Assault ship to MNDF. The Fast Patrol Vessel is capable of coastal and offshore surveillance at high speeds.

“Discussions on how to keep these operational are ongoing. The core group that both sides have agreed to set up will look at details of how to take this forward,” said the source quoted above. 

Meanwhile, President Muizzu Sunday said at a press conference back home that India has agreed to withdraw its military personnel from the Maldivian islands. 

“The commitment from the Indian side has been consistent throughout our dialogue. We are now progressing into the technical aspects of the withdrawal process,” President Muizzu said at the media conference. 

Riding on the infamous ‘India Out’ campaign and cleverly exploiting the anti-Indian military sentiments, Muizzu came to power in September as the new President of Maldives, defeating his predecessor Solih, who followed an ‘India First’ policy.

After coming to power, Muizzu reiterated strongly what he had been mentioning throughout his election campaign, to remove Indian military personnel who are engaged in various projects in Maldives.

In a meeting with Minister of Earth Sciences Kiren Rijiju, who had gone to attend Muizzu’s swearing-in ceremony, the newly elected President made a formal request to remove Indian military personnel from there.