India and Maldives are reviewing the replacement

The Maldives government had set May 10 as the deadline for the removal of Indian military personnel from the country.
India and Maldives are reviewing the replacement

India and the Maldives convened their fourth round of bilateral High-Level Core Group discussions on Friday, reviewing the replacement of Indian military personnel from the island nation by May 10. The Maldives government, led by Mohamed Muizzu, had set a deadline of May 10 for the evacuation of Indian military personnel from the country. According to ANI news agency, the Maldives foreign ministry stated, "Both sides noted with satisfaction that the Government of India will replace military personnel at the final of the three aviation platforms by May 10, and all logistical arrangements are proceeding as planned."

According to the statement, the two agreed that the fifth meeting of the high-level core group would take place in Male on a mutually agreeable date in June or July. India's Ministry of External Affairs recently stated that it is "watchful" of the presence of a Chinese vessel in the Maldives and is taking "appropriate measures" to ensure national and economic security. Earlier, the Chinese maritime research vessel Xiang Yang Hong 3 returned to Maldivian seas, making its second visit in less than two months.

The vessel was spotted docked at the Thilafushi industrial island's harbor, yet the government has not revealed the exact reason for its return. It is important to note that relations between India and the Maldives have deteriorated since Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu took office in November. Muizzu, largely seen as a pro-China politician, insisted after taking office that he would carry out his election promise of expelling Indian military personnel from his country. His People's National Congress (PNC) also secured a supermajority (60 MPs) in last month's legislative election.

However, India has always maintained a soft diplomatic stance toward the Maldives and has maintained bilateral contacts with the archaeological nation. India has spent over twice the estimated sum of ₹771 crore on development projects in the Maldives. The Maldives is one of India's main maritime neighbors in the Indian Ocean Region, and bilateral ties, notably those in defense and security, improved under the former Male government. The Maldives is home to approximately 70 Indian troops, as well as Dornier 228 maritime patrol aircraft and two HAL Dhruv helicopters.