As first batch of Indian military personnel depart, China says it supports Maldives to safeguard sovereignty

Last updated: March 12, 2024, 22:01 IST

Although the agreement was signed, details of the defense cooperation agreement were not provided.

Indian military personnel who were operating the helicopter in Maldives left the country after handing over the operation of the helicopter to the Indian civilian team.

China on Tuesday said it supports the Maldives in safeguarding its sovereignty, as the first batch of helicopter-wielding Indian military personnel left the island nation and were replaced by a civilian contingent.

Maldivian media reported on Monday that Indian military personnel deployed in Maldives left the country after handing over the operation of the helicopter to the Indian civilian team.

Asked for his comment on the withdrawal of the first batch of Indian military personnel from Maldives, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said he was not aware of the specifics.

“China supports the Maldives in safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and carrying out friendly cooperation with all parties on the basis of independence,” he said.

Maldivian President Mohammed Muizzu, who is seen as a pro-China leader, has confirmed that no Indian military personnel, even in civilian clothes, will be present inside his country after May 10.

Muizzu asked India to withdraw about 90 military personnel from Maldives and India to continue operating two helicopters and one Dornier aircraft provided to the country to replace the military personnel with civilians and provide humanitarian and medical evacuation services. Has agreed to keep.

Muizzu’s government also allowed a sophisticated Chinese ‘research ship’ to be berthed in Male. Last week, the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) signed an agreement with China’s military. Under this deal, China will supply ‘non-lethal’ weapons to Maldives for free.

Muizzu had visited China in January, during which the two countries announced the upgrading of bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, besides signing 20 agreements to assist the Maldives’ infrastructure.

China also announced a grant of US$130 million besides promising to send more Chinese tourists to the tourism-dependent Maldives.

Following Muizzu’s visit, China is sending more of its tourists to the Maldives on his request, in an apparent attempt to reduce dependence on Indian tourists, who recently topped the list of international tourists in the tourism-dependent country. Are.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)