Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Maldives signs military aid pact with China, President Muizzu sets deadline for Indian troops to leave island

Maldives signs military aid pact with China

Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu reiterated his position that his country will not tolerate Indian military presence.

“No Indian military personnel, not even those in civilian clothing, would be present inside his country after May 10,” Muizzu affirmed.

The Maldives had earlier asked India in January to withdraw its 88 troops from the island nation and the withdrawal deadline was initially set as March 15.

The statement came after Maldives signed a military assistance pact with China.

Maldives Defence Chief Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon and Chinese official for Military Cooperation Maj. Gen. Zhang Baoqun signed an “agreement on China’s provision of military assistance gratis”, “fostering stronger bilateral ties,”

The agreement was signed in the capital Male on Monday, according to the ministry’s social media handle X.

The meeting was also attended by China’s top diplomat, Ambassador Wang Lixin.

Before signing the pact, both the countries discussed “enhancing defence cooperation,” the ministry said.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said Beijing was “committed to building a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership with the Maldives,” Beijing-based daily Global Times reported.

However, the Chinese official has stated that “normal cooperation between China and Maldives does not target…, nor is it influenced by any third party.”

Meanwhile, Indian Navy has said it is bolstering forces on strategically important islands close to the Maldives, with a new base set to open in Minicoy just days before Male starts sending home Indian forces.

The move is motivated by India’s fear of China’s growing presence in Maldives.

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