Last of Indian military personnel departs Maldives as per agreement

Male/New Delhi, May 10 (UNI) The last of the remaining Indian military personnel have departed from the Maldives, under the agreement signed between Maldives and India, a Male government official has said.

Chief Spokesperson at the President’s Office Heena Waleed told Adhadhu that all the Indian troops in Maldives have now left the country.

However, the Male government has not yet announced the number of soldiers who departed on Thursday.

Heena had said two batches of Indian troops had left earlier. The Indian soldiers were operating military aircraft for humanitarian purposes.

The total number of Indian soldiers stationed in the Maldives numbered 88. A total of 51 Indian military personnel had departed in the first and second groups.

By March 10, all Indian troops in the southernmost Addu City were withdrawn. The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) revealed that all the Indian military personnel stationed in Addu left in different groups.

Troops from one more platform were withdrawn on April 10.

Speaking to the press on May 6, Heena Waleed revealed that 51 soldiers had left by then including the soldiers that were operating the Dornier aircraft and the two helicopters.

Indian civilian personnel have arrived to replace the Indian military personnel in both areas last month.

Along with the civilians, India also sent a new helicopter to replace one in Addu.

On Thursday, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said the development of ties between close neighbours India and Maldives “is obviously based on mutual interests and reciprocal sensitivity”, as he held talks with visiting Maldivian Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer in New Delhi.

The visit by the Maldivian Minister is the first official visit to India by a senior official of President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s government.

The visit came days after the two countries completed the Fourth Meeting of the India-Maldives High-level Core Group in New Delhi on May 3, during which it was agreed that India will replace its military personnel at the last of the three aviation platforms in the Maldives by May 10.

The withdrawal of Indian military personnel manning the aviation platforms was a key campaign promise of President Muizzu, who is seen as pro-China.

EAM Jaishankar, in his remarks, said the visit of the Maldivian foreign minister “provides an opportunity to discuss our relationship and chart out future directions”.

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