Maldives President Picks China For State Visit After Turkey


The President’s office confirmed the visit through an official release on Thursday…reports Asian Lite News

After departing from convention in picking Turkey, and, not India, for his first official visit, Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu, accompanied by First Lady Sajidha Mohamed, will undertake a state visit to China from January 7-12.

The President’s office confirmed the visit through an official release on Thursday.

The first couple will embark on the China visit on an invitation extended by President Xi Jinping, the release added.

President Muizzu of the Maldives chose Turkey for his first official visit, instead of India, breaking the longstanding trend followed by previous Maldivian presidents.

While he has not yet visited India, President Muizzu did have a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the COP28 climate summit in Dubai in early December.

During their meeting, PM Modi congratulated President Muizzu on his assumption of office. Both leaders reviewed the wide-ranging bilateral relations between the two countries, including people-to-people linkages, development cooperation, economic relations, climate change and sports. The two leaders also discussed ways to further deepen their partnership. They also agreed to set up a core group in this regard.

Significantly, in December last year, the Maldives said it would not renew the Hydrographic Survey agreement made with India, a Maldives-based news website, The Press, reported.

Maldives’ Under Secretary for Public Policy Mohamed Firuzul said part of the ‘Hafthaa-14’ roadmap was to revoke bilateral and diplomatic agreements with other countries that would put the country’s sovereignty in danger.

The hydrographic survey agreement was signed on June 8, 2019, during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the Maldives. Under the agreement, India was allowed to conduct a comprehensive study of the island nation’s territorial waters, which includes reefs, lagoons, coastlines, ocean currents, and tide levels.

The 3rd Joint Hydrographic Survey by the Indian Navy and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) was carried out by the Indian Naval Ship Investigator (INS Investigator) from January 19 to February 26, 2023.

An Indian Navy ship surveyed the Northern Maldives, covering Ihavandhippolhu and Thiladhanmatee atolls and Gallandhu Kandu. Since 2018, Indian naval assets have made several trips across the Maldives for the survey, according to The Press.

The removal of Indian troops in the Maldives was the main campaign of Muizzu’s party. Currently, there are around 70 Indian troops, along with Dornier 228 maritime patrol aircraft and two HAL Dhruv helicopters, stationed in the Maldives.

Muizzu reiterated the administration’s approach to ensuring the Maldives’ position as a welcoming and hospitable nation, underscoring the importance of mutual respect for security boundaries with other countries.

India and the Maldives have thus agreed to set up a core group with reference to the withdrawal of Indian troops from the island nation, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). (ANI)

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