India shifts military presence in Maldives to civilian technical team

World Tuesday 05/March/2024 08:03 AM
India shifts military presence in Maldives to civilian technical team

New Delhi: India on Thursday divulged that the first batch of Indian technical personnel had reached the Maldives.

Addressing a weekly press briefing in the national capital, MEA spokesperson Randir Jaiswal said, "We have had the first batch of technical personnel reach the Maldives, Male, to replace the existing personnel."

The Mohamed Muizzu-led Maldives government has formally requested that India withdraw its troops from Male.

"The first team of technical personnel to operate the advanced light helicopter at Gan has reached Maldives. It will replace the existing personnel that were, until now, operating this platform...," said Jaiswal.

Notably, the Ministry of External Affairs earlier stated in its statement that both India and Maldives have agreed on a set of mutually workable solutions to enable the continued operation of Indian aviation platforms that provide humanitarian and medvac services to the people of Maldives.

Previously, Maldives local media had reported that President Mohamed Muizzu had asked the Indian government to withdraw the Indian troops from the island nation before March 15.

The removal of Indian troops from the country was the main election campaign of Muizzu's party. Currently, there are around 70 Indian troops, along with Dornier 228 maritime patrol aircraft and two HAL Dhruv helicopters, stationed in the Maldives.

Meanwhile, Jaiswal on Feb 8, 2024, informed that the budget for the Maldives has increased to Rs 770.9 crore.

India remains an important, committed development partner for the Maldives.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar affirmed his belief that the row with the Maldives will be resolved through diplomacy.

He highlighted that Indian military personnel and aviation platforms in Maldives has been solely working for the benefit of local people and said that sometimes misunderstandings take place between two nations.

Speaking at the event 'The Rise of the Global South' at TV9 Bharatvarsh Conclave, Jaishankar said, "Humanity is humanity. Diplomacy is diplomacy, and politics is politics. The whole world doesn't always run with if we have encountered such a situation, the solution will come through diplomacy only."

"We have to make people understand; sometimes people don't even have complete knowledge of things and sometimes people get misguided on what others say," he added.

Jaishankar further described the primary functions performed by Indian military personnel and aviation platforms in the Maldives.

"There are two Indian helicopters and one plane in the Maldives. Mostly, it is used for medvac (medical evacuation) purposes. The people of the Maldives are the beneficiaries of it. But, these are military planes, so who will run them? Obviously, military personnel," Jaishankar said.

He added that the Indian side is holding multiple rounds of discussion with the Maldivian side to resolve whatever differences they have.

"They had some objection, so we said, 'Come on, let's discuss and reach a solution. So, even if our intention is good, policy is clear, we reach such a situation, and we have to find a solution. I firmly believe that we will be able to resolve this matter as well," the EAM added.