India is yet to respond officially by the Maldivian government about the withdrawal of Indian Defence personnel from the island nation.
New Delhi: India is considering to take up modalities and timing of withdrawal of Indian Defence personnel next month.
New Delhi is yet to respond officially by the Maldivian government about the withdrawal of Indian Defence personnel from the island nation.
India’s response reportedly will come in the February and be based on the availability of civilian crew for the surveillance assets.
The Indian forces stationed in Maldives are waiting for government directives over withdrawal from the island nation.
Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu had recently urged India to vacate its soldiers from the island by March 15. Muizzu, who is considered pro-Chinese, recently won the country’s presidential election. Ever since Muizzu was elected the Maldivian President last year, there have been tensions in the island nation’s ties with India. He had campaigned on an ‘India Out’ campaign.
India currently has 77 Indian soldiers and assets stationed in the island nation, according to the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).
Earlier, a diplomatic row erupted between India and Maldives after three ministers of the island nation used derogatory comments against India and PM Narendra Modi. Later, the three ministers were suspended.
The three Maldivian ministers were aghast after PM Modi posted stunning pictures of his Lakshadweep visit. The trio had inferred that PM Modi projected Lakshadweep as an alternate destination to Maldives, whose mainstay is tourism.
India-Maldives ties before Muizzu:
India had provide Dhruv helicopters and Dornier aircraft for Maldivian capability development nearly a decade ago.
The Indian forces take care of these aircraft and also train the Maldivian forces there.
Geo-strategic importance of Maldives:
Maldives is geo-strategically important for India. The island nation is located next to major shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean. This strategic location ensures energy supply for countries like China, Japan and India.
China had started sending its naval ships to the Gulf of Aden in the Indian Ocean a few years ago in the name of anti-piracy operations. Since then, the importance of the Maldives for India has increased further.