The Indian External Affairs Ministry has refuted claims that discussions on withdrawing Indian troops from the Maldives took place during a recent meeting with Maldivian Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer and his Indian counterpart Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. The meeting was held in Uganda, on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) ministerial meeting.

The Indian External Affairs Ministry’s spokesperson, Randhir Jaiswal, stated in his weekly media briefing on 18 January, that the discussions between the two nations are an ongoing process.

He emphasised that the recent meeting focused on finding mutually workable solutions to enable the continued operation of Indian aviation platforms that provide humanitarian and medevac services to the Maldives. This statement diverges from earlier Maldivian reports that suggested discussions centred on the withdrawal of Indian military personnel.

Responding to queries from the press, Jaiswal reaffirmed India’s commitment to its development projects in the Maldives. He indicated that these projects are progressing as planned, with India remaining a key development partner in line with Maldivian priorities. This commitment highlights the ongoing cooperation between the two countries amidst differing views on military presence.

Regarding a potential state visit of Maldivian President Dr Mohamed Muizzu to India, the spokesperson clarified that India and the Maldives are facilitating high-level engagements with a constructive agenda based on mutually convenient dates and timelines. This statement suggests continuous dialogue and coordination at the highest levels, aiming to strengthen bilateral ties.

The clarification from the Indian External Affairs Ministry contributes to the intricate dynamics of the ongoing diplomatic discussions. While the Maldives seeks to assert its sovereignty and reduce foreign military presence, the Indian stance reflects a more cautious approach, shifting its focus to maintaining humanitarian assistance and ongoing development cooperation.