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‘Convenience, not geopolitical shift’: Maldives foreign minister dismisses diplomatic shift towards China – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Maldives foreign minister Moosa Zameer, who is currently on a visit to India, highlighted that President Mohamed Muizzu’s decision to visit China before India was based on convenience rather than any underlying geopolitical shift. He further addressed speculations regarding military pacts with China, emphasizing that the Maldives has no intention of hosting foreign militaries on its soil.
Dismissing speculations of defence pact with China, Zameer said, “I don’t think there is any military pact with China.One thing the president of Maldives has clearly said is that we are not bringing in any foreign militaries in the Maldives, no, we are not. The president visited Turkey as well as China. I think that mainly for convenience because obviously, we did discuss with Delhi about a visit. But for the convenience of both sides, we thought it might be okay for us to delay it a little bit’, further adding that discussions are being held for Muizzu’s visit to Delhi very soon.
Zameer highlighted the significance of economic cooperation with India for the Maldivian economy. He acknowledged the benefits derived from Indian assistance in the form of grants and debt relief, underscoring the importance of ongoing engagement between the two nations.
Regarding Maldives’ role as a key partner in the Indian Ocean region, Zameer reiterated the commitment to peace and security in collaboration with neighboring countries like India and Sri Lanka.
Addressing concerns about Chinese vessel ports in Maldivian waters, he said, Regarding the port call for Chinese vessels, we issued personal rotation and friendly portable permits, and diplomatic clearances came from the Chinese side, which is very common in Maldives…But they didn’t come for research in the Maldivian waters, we have not permitted the Chinese vessel for research in the Maldivian waters.”
On derogatory remarks against India, Zameer said, “If you have seen as you said, we have said that it’s not the stand of the government or we believe that it shouldn’t have been done. We are taking proper action to make sure that this doesn’t get repeated. There has been a misunderstanding, in social media. The governments of Maldives and India understand what has happened and we have passed that stage now.”
Zameer’s visit comes in the backdrop of recent discussions between India and Maldives centered on the orderly replacement of Indian military personnel stationed in Maldives.
During his visit, foreign ministers of India and Maldives will engage in discussions regarding bilateral and regional matters, aiming to provide impetus to the strained diplomatic relationship.

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