Indian EAM S Jaishankar, Maldivian counterpart Moosa Zameer discuss withdrawal of Indian troops from Maldives amid ongoing tension

Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met his Maldivian counterpart Moosa Zameer in Kampala where they discussed the withdrawal of Indian troops from the Island Nation.

India,Maldives leaders discuss troop withdrawal issue during recent meeting. Photo Courtesy: S Jaishankar X page

Jaishankar said he had a ‘frank conversation’ with Moosa Zameer during the meeting.

“A frank conversation on – ties. Also discussed NAM related issues,” Jaishankar posted on X.

The meeting took place at a time when the relationship between India and Maldives touched new low over the recent ‘derogatory’ remarks made by three ministers over Indian PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Lakshwadeep.

The Maldives government also directed India to withdraw its troops by March 15.

“It was a pleasure to meet with the External Affairs Minister of #India @DrSJaishankar in the margins of #NAMSummitUg2024,” Moosa Zameer posted on X.

“We exchanged views on the ongoing high-level discussions on the withdrawal of Indian military personnel, as well as expediting the completion of ongoing development projects in the #Maldives, and cooperation within SAARC and NAM,” he said. “We are committed to further strengthening and expanding our cooperation,” the Maldivian minister said.

Jaishankar is visiting Kampala to represent India at the two-day summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

India-Maldives relationship touches low

The diplomatic ties between both countries hit a new low recently after Maldivian Minister Mariyam Shiuna’s disparaging comments on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “clown” and “puppet” in posts on X, which have since been deleted.

The tweets were removed following criticism and backlash on the social media site.

The row erupted also under the shadow of strained India-Maldives ties after President Mohamed Muizzu, who is seen as a pro-China politician, came to power.

Muizzu assumed the presidency of the Maldives in November 2023. As part of his election promise, he committed to withdrawing a group of approximately 75 Indian military personnel from his country and revising the Maldives’ longstanding “India first” policy.