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India-Maldives diplomatic row: Maldives President requests India for debt relief measures; calls India "closest ally"

Written by  Shefali Kohli -- March 23rd 2024 10:34 AM
India-Maldives diplomatic row:  Maldives President requests India for debt relief measures; calls India

India-Maldives diplomatic row: Maldives President requests India for debt relief measures; calls India "closest ally"

India-Maldives diplomatic row: Following a diplomatic dispute with India, Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu has adopted a conciliatory approach by seeking debt relief measures from New Delhi. He emphasized that India will remain the Maldives' "closest ally." 

He further claimed that he has "not taken any action nor made any statements" that may strain the relationship between the two countries.


Notably, this was President Muizzu's first interview since assuming office.

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During an interview with media outlet 'Mihaaru', President Muizzu expressed his hope that India would consider providing debt relief to the Maldives for the substantial loans acquired by successive governments from India.

"The conditions we have inherited are such that there are very large loans taken from India. Hence, we are holding discussions to explore leniencies in the repayment structure of these loans. Instead of halting any ongoing projects, proceed with them at speed. So I see no reason for any adverse effects [on Maldives-India relations]," he said.

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Mohamed Muizzu known for his anti-India stance and 'India Out' electoral campaign rhetoric, has taken unconventional steps since assuming office, particularly affecting India-Maldives relations.

His party's electoral campaign prominently featured the removal of Indian troops from the Maldives. Despite this, around 70 Indian troops, Dornier 228 maritime patrol aircraft, and two HAL Dhruv helicopters remain stationed in the country. 

Shortly after taking office, Muizzu formally requested the Indian government to withdraw its military personnel. However, during the third India-Maldives High-Level Core Group meeting in Male, the two nations reviewed the continued deployment of Indian technical personnel to support humanitarian aviation services in the Maldives. 

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Muizzu expressed no objections to India's development projects in the Maldives and acknowledged India's significant aid contributions and project implementations. 

The row between New Delhi and Male erupted after three Maldivian deputy ministers made derogatory comments against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, over his pictures from the visit to Lakshadweep.

(With inputs from ANI)

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