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SOURCE: ANI

Amid a diplomatic standoff between the two countries, the Maldives Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer will pay an official visit to India on Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs said in an official statement.

According to the release, the Maldivian Minister will hold a meeting with the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to discuss the bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest.

“Moosa Zameer, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives will be in India on an official visit on 09 May 2024. During his visit to New Delhi, Foreign Minister Zameer will meet the External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar for discussions on bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest,” MEA statement said.

” Maldives is India’s key maritime neighbour in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and Foreign Minister Zameer’s visit is expected to lend further momentum to the bilateral cooperation between the two countries,” it added.

Earlier, the Maldivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the Foreign Minister Mansoor will visit India from May 8-10.

“The Minister of Foreign Affairs His Excellency Moosa Zameer will undertake an Official Visit to India from 8 to 10 May 2024,” the release said.

“During the visit, Minister Zameer will meet with India’s Minister of External Affairs Dr S. Jaishankar and hold discussions in deepening and expanding the longstanding partnership between the Maldives and India,” it added.

Notably, this will be the first official visit of Foreign Minister Zameer to India since assuming office.

The visit comes as India has said that it will replace its military personnel from Maldives before May 10.

On May 3, India and Maldives held the 4th meeting of the bilateral High-Level Core Group and reviewed the replacement of Indian military personnel from the Island nation by May 10 and noted that the government will replace military personnel before the noted time. Earlier, the Mohamed Muizzu-led Maldives government formally requested that India withdraw its troops from Male.

Maldives foreign ministry said in a press release that both sides reviewed the existing bilateral cooperation. “Discussions were held on a wide range of issues of mutual interest, including development and defence cooperation.”

“Both sides noted with satisfaction that the Government of India will replace military personnel at the last of the three aviation platforms by May 10, and all the logistical arrangements are going ahead as per schedule,” the press release added.

It was further agreed that the fifth meeting of the High-Level Core Group will be held in Male on a mutually agreeable date during the month of June/July.

Last month, the Ministry of External Affairs said that the first batch of Indian personnel in the Maldives had been replaced by technical personnel.

The external affairs ministry earlier informed that both India and the Maldives have agreed on a set of mutually workable solutions to enable the continued operation of Indian aviation platforms that provide humanitarian and medical evacuation services to the people of the Maldives.

Last month, the MEA said that the first batch of Indian technical personnel reached the Maldives to replace the defence personnel.

India and the Maldives have held two high-level core group meetings, and the third one is expected to take place soon.

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.