China Signs Defence Deal With Maldives to Provide Free Military Assistance; Details Undisclosed

1 month ago

Last Updated: March 04, 2024, 21:58 IST

Male, Maldives

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

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

China signs defence cooperation agreement with Maldives amid tensions with India over military personnel withdrawal. Details undisclosed

China on Monday signed a defence cooperation agreement with the Maldives to provide free military aid to build stronger bilateral relations with Male. This development came weeks after President Mohamed Muizzu set a deadline for the withdrawal of the first group of Indian military personnel from his island nation.

Maldives Defence Minister Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon and China’s Major General Baoqun “signed an agreement on China’s provision of military assistance gratis to the Republic of Maldives, fostering stronger bilateral ties,” the Maldivian defence ministry posted on its X handle. However, the details of the defence cooperation deal were not provided.

Minister of Defence @mgmaumoon and Major General Zhang Baoqun, Deputy Director of the Office for Military Cooperation of the People’s Republic of China, signed an agreement on China’s provision of military assistance gratis to the Republic of Maldives, fostering… pic.twitter.com/OeaAe2QZr9— Ministry of Defence (@MoDmv) March 4, 2024

This deal also came days after Male allowed Xiang Yang Hong 03, a hi-tech Chinese research ship to make a port call for the ”rotation of its personnel and replenishment” amid security concerns from India. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson has previously defended the port call by the Chinese research ship to the Maldives saying, “China’s scientific research activities in relevant waters are for peaceful purposes and aimed at contributing to humanity’s scientific understanding of the ocean.”

Earlier, pro-China President Muizzu has 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 spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said in New Delhi at his weekly media briefing on February 29.

After meetings 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. Indian military personnel are in the country, primarily to operate two helicopters and an aircraft that have carried out hundreds of medical evacuations and humanitarian missions.

The ties between the two countries came under some strain since Muizzu came to power in November last year. Muizzu maintained after assuming charge as the president that he would keep his election promise of evicting Indian military personnel from his country. Muizzu defeated India-friendly incumbent Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in the presidential runoff held in September last year. The current government has said that it was reviewing more than 100 agreements signed with India by the previous governments.

(With agency inputs)

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