HomeIndian DefenceFirst team of Indian military personnel back in India from Maldives: MEA

First team of Indian military personnel back in India from Maldives: MEA

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India on Friday said its first team of military personnel that was operating an advanced light helicopter in the Maldives has returned from the island nation. The military team has been replaced by civilian technical experts.

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

“The turnaround of the first team of personnel who were operating the ALH helicopter has been completed. The first batch of people that had to be replaced has been completed. The turnaround has happened,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said at his weekly media briefing.

Following the second meeting of the high-level core group that was set up to address the issue of withdrawal of Indian military personnel, the Maldivian foreign ministry had said India will replace all its military personnel in two phases by May 10.

The second meeting of the core group took place in Delhi on February 2.

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. Muizzu, widely seen as a pro-China leader, maintained after assuming charge as the president that he will keep his election promise of evicting Indian military personnel from his country.

Muizzu, 45, defeated India-friendly incumbent Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in the presidential runoff held in September last year.

The Maldives is one of India’s key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region and the overall bilateral ties including in areas of defence and security witnessed an upward trajectory under the previous government in Male.



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