Maldivian Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer has met with his Indian counterpart Dr S Jaishankar on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) ministerial meeting in Kampala, Uganda. 

This high-level engagement between the two nations comes at a critical juncture, marked by the Maldives’ request for the withdrawal of Indian military personnel and challenges arising from derogatory social media posts by Maldivian deputy ministers.

During their meeting on Thursday, Ministers Zameer and Jaishankar exchanged views on several key issues, most notably the ongoing discussions about the withdrawal of Indian troops from the Maldives. 

The dialogue signifies a continuation of the high-level core group meetings initiated in Malé, reflecting both countries’ commitment to resolving this sensitive matter. The Maldivian Foreign Ministry has indicated that both sides are keen to intensify cooperation and expedite the troop withdrawal process.

In addition to the troops withdrawal issue, the ministers discussed the acceleration of various Indian development projects in the Maldives. These projects are crucial for the Maldivian government, as they contribute significantly to the nation’s infrastructural and socio-economic development.

The meeting also touched upon broader regional cooperation within the frameworks of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Non-Aligned Movement. This aspect of the discussion highlights the ongoing effort by both nations to strengthen their partnership in regional and international platforms.

However, the bilateral relationship has recently faced challenges due to derogatory remarks made by Maldivian deputy ministers towards India on social media. These incidents, which have led to the suspension of the involved ministers, underscore the complexities in diplomatic relations and the importance of maintaining a respectful and professional discourse.

The Maldives’ request for the withdrawal of Indian troops, set against the backdrop of these challenges, reflects a delicate balance in its foreign policy. While seeking to assert national sovereignty and reduce foreign military presence, the Maldives also acknowledges the significance of its relationship with India, a key regional partner.