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India and Maldives Strengthen Bilateral Ties Amid Diplomatic Standoff

In the midst of a diplomatic standoff between India and the Maldives, the Maldivian Foreign Minister, Moosa Zameer, is set to embark on an official visit to India on Thursday, as announced by the Ministry of External Affairs. The visit aims to facilitate discussions on bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest between the two countries.


Purpose of the Visit

During his visit to New Delhi, Foreign Minister Zameer is scheduled to meet with India’s External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar. The agenda of their meeting includes discussions on enhancing cooperation between India and the Maldives, particularly in the maritime domain. The Maldives holds significant importance as India’s key maritime neighbor in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

Notably, this visit marks the first official trip of Foreign Minister Zameer to India since assuming office, signifying the importance both nations place on strengthening their ties despite recent tensions.


Progress Amid Challenges

The visit comes against the backdrop of ongoing discussions between India and the Maldives regarding the withdrawal of Indian military personnel from the island nation. Both countries have been engaged in dialogue through bilateral High-Level Core Group meetings to address this issue.

Recent developments indicate progress, with the fourth meeting of the High-Level Core Group concluding with a commitment from India to replace its military personnel from the Maldives before May 10. This move aligns with the Maldivian government’s formal request for the withdrawal of Indian troops from Male, the capital city.

Furthermore, discussions during the meetings have covered a wide range of issues, including development and defense cooperation. Both sides have expressed satisfaction with the logistical arrangements for the withdrawal of Indian military personnel, with the replacement process well underway.

Looking ahead, it has been agreed that the fifth meeting of the High-Level Core Group will be held in Male, the capital of the Maldives, during the months of June or July, underscoring the commitment of both nations to continued dialogue and cooperation.

The upcoming visit of Maldives Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer to India signifies a positive step towards strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries. Despite challenges and tensions, both India and the Maldives remain committed to resolving issues through dialogue and cooperation, as demonstrated by the progress made in the withdrawal of Indian military personnel from the Maldives. This visit holds the promise of further enhancing mutual understanding and collaboration in various areas of mutual interest, contributing to peace and stability in the Indian Ocean Region.

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