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India, Maldives Hold 3rd Core Group Meet On Troop Withdrawal

Maldives
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In order to maintain the operation of Indian aviation platforms in the island nation, India and the Maldives reviewed on Sunday the ongoing deployment of Indian civilian technical personnel.
At the third high-level core group meeting, which took place in Male and was centered on the removal of Indian military personnel from the island, both sides completed the review.

India announced on Friday that the first group of soldiers to use an advanced light helicopter in the Maldives has left the nation.

The technical experts who are civilians have taken the place of the military team.

Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu had set a March 10 deadline for the withdrawal of the first group of Indian military personnel from his country.

“During the meeting, both sides reviewed the ongoing deputation of Indian technical personnel to enable continued operation of Indian aviation platforms that provide humanitarian and medvac (medical evacuation) services to the people of Maldives,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

It said both sides continued their discussions on wide-ranging issues related to bilateral cooperation.

“This inter alia included expediting the implementation of ongoing development cooperation projects through regular convening of joint monitoring mechanisms, efforts to boost bilateral trade and investment and enhancing people-to-people linkages through capacity building and travel,” it said.

It was decided that the high-level core group’s subsequent meeting would take place in New Delhi at a time that works for both parties.

The Maldivian foreign ministry announced after the second meeting of the high-level core group tasked with addressing the issue of Indian military personnel withdrawal that India will replace all of its military personnel by May 10 in two phases.

On February 2, the core group held its second meeting in Delhi.

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

The ties between India and the Maldives came under some strain since Muizzu came to power in November.

Prominently regarded as a pro-Chinese leader, Muizzu insisted upon carrying out his election pledge to expel Indian military personnel from his nation.

In September of last year, Muizzu, 45, emerged victorious over incumbent Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who was friendly with India.

One of India’s most important maritime neighbors in the Indian Ocean region is the Maldives, and under the previous administration in Male, bilateral relations generally saw an improvement, including in the fields of security and defense.

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