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Maldives Says Won’t Renew Pact With India On Water Survey: Report

New Delhi: Maldives has said that it will not renew the Hydrographic Survey agreement made with India, The Press

Maldives Says Won’t Renew Pact With India On Water Survey: Report


New Delhi:

Maldives has said that it will not renew the Hydrographic Survey agreement made with India, The Press reported. The Press is a Maldives-based news website.

Maldives’ Under Secretary for Public Policy Mohamed Firuzul said that 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.

Mr Firuzul was speaking at a conference held at the Maldives President’s Office after the Cabinet meeting on Thursday.

He said the Maldives President and his cabinet have decided not to renew the Hydrography agreement between the India-Maldives and that as per agreement dictates one party can decide not to renew the current agreement six months before it expires in June 2024, The Press reported.

The hydrographic survey agreement was signed on June 8, 2019, during Prime Minister Narendra 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 third Joint Hydrographic survey by the Indian Navy and the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) was carried out by Indian Naval Ship Investigator (INS Investigator) from January 19 to February 26, 2023.

The Indian Navy ship surveyed Northern Maldives covering Ihavandhippolhu and Thiladhanmatee atolls and Gallandhu Kandu.

Since 2018, Indian navy ships have made several trips across the Maldives for the survey, according to The Press.

The Maldives Under Secretary for Public Policy said the agreement also dictates that if a party does not indicate its decision not to renew the agreement, the agreement would be valid for five more years.

As per Mr Firuzul, Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu and his cabinet want to retain information and data about the country’s waters within the country itself.

The Under Secretary also said that the government wants to build this capacity within the armed forces (MNDF) and that budget allocations would be made to develop resources for such work within the MNDF.

He added that ocean hydrography survey work would now be done under Maldivian authority only.

Meanwhile, the Maldives President recently conveyed the Indian government’s assurance to honour and respect the desire of the Maldivian people to abstain from accommodating foreign military presence within the country.

Mr Muizzu said that after dialogue with the Indian government, an agreement has been reached to withdraw Indian military personnel. The agreement is currently in progress at a technical level.

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.

Mr 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 in reference to the withdrawal of Indian troops from the island nation, said the Ministry of External Affairs.

Earlier, MEA spokesperson Arindham Bagchi while addressing a weekly press briefing, highlighted the discussions held between PM Modi and Maldivian President Muizzu on the sidelines of the COP28 Summit in Dubai, UAE.

“In Dubai, during the conversation, the prime minister and president of the Maldives discussed ways to further deepen our partnership and in this regard, they agreed to set up a core group. Let’s see how we will be guided by what the core group says,” Mr Bagchi had said.



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