Maldives foreign minister in India visit amid diplomatic chill between two countries

Team India Sentinels Thursday 9th of May 2024 03:36 PM

Moosa Zameer (L) with S Jaishankar in New Delhi, on May 9, 2024. (Photo: X/@MoosaZameer) 

New Delhi: The Maldivian foreign minister, Moosa Zameer, embarked on an official visit to India on Thursday. This visit comes at a pivotal moment, as Male seeks to bolster the bilateral relations with New Delhi amid a backdrop of recent diplomatic tensions.

After arriving in the Indian capital, Zameer met his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar. The agenda for the discussions was comprehensive, covering a range of bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest. The talks were aimed at providing a fresh impetus to the multifaceted relationship that India and the Maldives share, particularly focusing on maritime cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

The Maldives, a key maritime neighbour of India, has historically shared a cordial relationship with the country. However, the ties had come under strain following the insistence of the atoll nation’s president, Mohamed Muizzu, on the withdrawal of Indian military personnel operating three military platforms in the island nation. Zameer’s visit is thus seen as a crucial step towards mending fences and exploring new avenues for cooperation.

Soon after Muizzu took over the country’s presidency in 2023 after he won the election on an anti-India plank, he took several decisions and made several moves that were perceived to be against India’s interests and pro-China. Later, some officials in his government also used derogatory language on social media against India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, and Indians, which resulted in a diplomatic row. In January, Maldives allowed a Chinese spy ship to dock in the atoll nation despite India’s concerns.

In a statement released prior to Zameer’s visit, the Indian foreign ministry expressed optimism his visit would “lend further momentum to the bilateral cooperation between the two countries.” The statement underscored the importance of the Maldives in India’s vision for a stable and secure IOR.

During his stay, Zameer also took to X to express his anticipation for “productive discussions, strengthening ties, and experiencing the vibrant culture of India”. The Indian foreign ministry reciprocated the sentiment with a warm welcome message on the same platform.

Later, Zameer met members of the Maldivian community in the capital.


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