India, Maldives Core Group To Decide Fate Of Indian Helicopters And Aircraft When Soldiers Exit Male

(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) India and the Maldives have been discussing the operations of Indian-origin platforms stationed in the archipelago nation as the core group from both sides have set up a mechanism to look at it, sources in the government establishment said on Sunday.
"The leaders had briefly discussed the issues in Dubai,” they said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President of the Maldives Mohamad Muizzu met in Dubai on the sidelines of the COP28 Climate Change Action Summit, on December 1.
Earlier in the day, Muizzu told media persons in Male that New Delhi has agreed to withdraw its personnel from Maldives.

"In the discussions we had, the Indian government has agreed to remove Indian soldiers... We also agreed to set up a high-level committee to solve issues related to development projects," President Muizzu said.

The sources said: "We have seen reports about the status of Indian platforms in Maldives engaged in HADR activities. The continued usefulness of the Indian platforms as it was recognised in discussions needs to be looked at in a proper perspective."

They also said that the Maldivian side has acknowledged the utility of these platforms.

"The fact that it is an important segment of our bilateral development partnership is recognised by both sides. Discussions on how to keep them operational are ongoing. The core group that both sides have agreed to set up will look at details of how to take this forward," sources added.

Indian platforms in Maldives

Currently, India has deployed two advanced light helicopters (ALH) and a Dornier aircraft which have been extensively used for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in the island nation.

These aircraft are being used to ferry people during medical emergencies.

Muizzu, who is pro-China, has fought elections in Maldives on the anti-India plank. He had promised his people to make the island nation free from foreign military and defeated President Ibrahim Solih in September.

As of now, a total of 77 Indian personnel are serving there, engaged in the maintenance and operation of aircraft.
In a statement, Muizzu's office said that the withdrawal of the Indian troops will be expedited and that the entire process will be completed through diplomatic procedures.

In the last five years, over 500 medical evacuations were conducted by the Indian personnel, saving 523 Maldivian lives. Also, over 450 multifaceted missions have also been carried out to safeguard the maritime security of the archipelago nation.


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