Maldives Seeks to Strengthen Historic Ties with India, Says FM Moosa Zameer


Maldives' Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer embarked on his inaugural bilateral official trip to India, marking the first significant visit from Male since bilateral relations faced strain under President Mohamed Muizzu's pro-China leadership six months ago. Zameer, on his visit from May 8 to 10, is scheduled to engage in discussions with Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar, focusing on enhancing and broadening the enduring partnership between the Maldives and India, as per a statement released by the foreign ministry.

This is Foreign Minister Zameer's first official visit to India since assuming office. "Departing to New Delhi on my very first bilateral official visit. Looking forward to meeting my counterpart Minister of External Affairs, Dr. @DrSJaishankar, and discuss deepening and enhancing cooperation between #Maldives and #India for the mutual benefit of our peoples", Zameer said in a post on X.

The bilateral ties came under severe strain after Muizzu insisted on the withdrawal of nearly 90 Indian military personnel operating three aviation platforms in the island nation. India has already withdrawn most of its military personnel. President Muizzu had set May 10 as the deadline for the exit of all Indian troops from his country. Muizzu's spokesperson announced that 51 Indian military personnel have left the Maldives and confirmed that the rest would leave the island by May 10 as agreed by the two countries.

Relations deteriorated further when three Maldivian deputy ministers made disrespectful comments about India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social media following Modi's posting of photos and videos showcasing the beautiful Lakshadweep Islands on India's western coast via his X handle on January 6. The Maldivian government took action by suspending the three ministers after opposition leaders criticized the officials' use of 'appalling language' against the Indian leader.

The Maldives holds a crucial position as India's primary maritime neighbor in the Indian Ocean Region, playing a significant role in initiatives such as 'SAGAR' (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and the 'Neighbourhood First Policy' under the Modi government. "The Maldives is India's key maritime neighbour in the Indian Ocean Region, and Foreign Minister Zameer's visit is expected to lend further momentum to the bilateral cooperation between the two countries", the Ministry of External Affairs said in New Delhi.