"Sometimes people get misguided...": EAM Jaishankar on diplomatic row with Maldives

World Tuesday 27/February/2024 08:03 AM
"Sometimes people get misguided...": EAM Jaishankar on diplomatic row with Maldives

New Delhi: Highlighting that Indian military personnel and aviation platforms in Maldives has been solely working for the benefit of local people, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar affirmed his belief that the row with the Maldives will be resolved through diplomacy.

He also said that sometimes misunderstandings take place between two nations.

The EAM was speaking at the event 'The Rise of the Global South' at TV9 Bharatvarsh Conclave on Monday.

Responding to the Maldives row, Jaishankar said, "Humanity is humanity. Diplomacy is diplomacy, and politics is politics. The whole world doesn't always run with obligation...so if we have encountered such a situation, the solution will come through diplomacy only."

"We have to make people understand, sometimes people don't even have complete knowledge of things, sometimes people get misguided on what others say," he added.

Jaishankar further described the primary functions performed by the Indian military personnel and aviation platforms in Maldives.

"There are two Indian helicopters and one plane in the Maldives. Mostly, it is used for medvac (medical evacuation) purposes. The people of the Maldives are the beneficiaries of it. But, these are military planes, so who will run them? Obviously, military personnel," Jaishankar said.

He added that the Indian side is holding multiple rounds of discussion with the Maldivian side to resolve whatever differences they have.

"They had some objection, so we said, 'Come on, let's discuss and reach a solution. So, even if our intention is good, policy is clear, we reach such a situation, and we have to find a solution. I firmly believe that we will be able to resolve this matter as well," the EAM added.

Notably, Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu is considered close to China and he even ran the electoral campaign on the line of 'India Out'. Since coming to power, he has taken several steps that have been unconventional from the point of view of India-Maldives ties.

The removal of Indian troops from the country was the main election campaign of Muizzu's party and he put up a formal request with New Delhi regarding the same, just on the second day after assuming office.

Currently, there are around 70 Indian troops, along with Dornier 228 maritime patrol aircraft and two HAL Dhruv helicopters, stationed in the Maldives.

Two, high-level group meetings have taken place between New Delhi and Male, while a third meeting is scheduled to be held later.

After the second meeting, the Maldives Foreign Ministry said in a statement that India will "replace" its military personnel in one of the three aviation platforms in the Maldives by March 10 and will complete the replacement by May 10.

But, the Ministry of External Affairs stated in its statement that both India and the Maldives have agreed on a set of "mutually workable solutions" to enable the continued operation of Indian aviation platforms that provide humanitarian and medvac services to the people of the Maldives.

Previously, Maldives local media reported that President Mohamed Muizzu had asked the Indian government to withdraw the Indian troops from the island nation before March 15.

Apart from the call for the withdrawal of Indian military personnel, a massive row erupted after a Maldivian deputy minister, along with other cabinet members and government officials, made disparaging and unsavoury references to Primer Minister Narendra Modi's Lakshadweep visit and call to develop the Indian archipelago as a global retreat for beach tourism.

The Maldives government, however, distanced itself from the remarks.

Earlier, Maldives also announced that it would not renew the agreement that allowed India to conduct hydrographic surveys hydrographic survey with India.