1st civilian team reaches Maldives to replace troops
February 29, 2024  19:28
India on Thursday said its first civilian team of technical experts has reached the Maldives to replace the military personnel operating an advanced light helicopter in the island nation.

Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu had set March 10 as the deadline for the withdrawal of the first group of Indian military personnel from his country.

"The first team of technical personnel to operate the advanced light helicopter has reached the Maldives. It will replace the existing personnel who were operating this platform," Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said at his weekly media briefing.

Following a second meeting of the high-level core group that was set up to address the issue of withdrawal of the Indian military personnel, the Maldivian foreign ministry had said India will replace all its military personnel in two phases by May 10.

The second meeting of the core group took place in Delhi on February 2.

The two sides decided to set up the core group following a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Muizzu on the sidelines of the COP28 summit in Dubai in December last year.

At present, around 80 Indian military personnel are in the Maldives, primarily to operate two helicopters and an aircraft that have carried out hundreds of medical evacuations and humanitarian missions.  -- PTI
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