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New: What Has Happened Recently To The India-Maldives Relationship?

The Indian High Commission in the Maldives has received word of the Muizzu administration’s decision from the Maldives government.

The government of President Mohamed Muizzu, whose party won the election on the platform of “India Out,” has chosen not to extend the previous government’s agreement with India on a hydrographic survey of the island nation’s waters, barely one month after requesting that India remove its military personnel from the Maldives.

The agreement permitted India to perform a hydrographic survey of the Maldivian territorial seas, conduct research, and chart reefs, lagoons, coastlines, ocean currents, and tide levels. It was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Maldives at the invitation of then-President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

The Maldives’ newly elected administration, which took office in November, is formally ending this first bilateral agreement.

The Muizzu government has chosen not to extend the hydrography agreement, which runs out on June 7, 2024, according to Mohamed Firuzul Abdul Khaleel, Undersecretary for Public Policy at the Maldives President’s Office, during a press conference on Thursday.

In accordance with the terms of this agreement, six months before the agreement’s expiration, one party may terminate it by notifying the other party. The agreement automatically renews for a further five years in accordance with the conditions; otherwise.

Muizzu conferred with his cabinet before deciding. “It is best for national security to improve the Maldivian military’s capacity to conduct such surveys and protect such sensitive information,” according to the administration.

Hydrography projects in the future will be entirely managed by Maldivians, and only they will have access to the data.

Muizzu stated earlier this month that the Indian government had consented to removing its troops from the Maldives. When Muizzu met with Prime Minister Modi in Dubai during the COP28 summit, the matter was briefly discussed. It was stated that talks about how to maintain the operational status of the Indian helicopters and aircraft were “ongoing” and that “the core group” that the two parties had decided to form would “look at details of how to take this forward.”

Unlike previous Maldivian presidents, who made India their first stop after taking office, Muizzu selected Turkey as his first overseas destination.

For emergency medical evacuations and disaster relief missions, the island nation’s Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) is equipped with two helicopters and one aircraft from India. To run these platforms, there are 77 Indian military troops stationed in the Maldives.

After campaigning on a platform of altering the Maldives’ “India First” policy and removing Indian military forces, Muizzu won the presidential election.

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