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China Will Give Maldives Free Military Support

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In an effort to promote “stronger” bilateral ties with Male, China and the Maldives signed a defence cooperation agreement on Monday. This comes only weeks after President Mohamed Muizzu set a deadline for the departure of the first wave of Indian military troops from the island nation. China on Monday signed a defence cooperation agreement with the Maldives to provide free military assistance to foster “stronger” bilateral ties, weeks after President Mohamed Muizzu set a deadline for the withdrawal of the first group of Indian military personnel from his island nation.

The Defence Minister of the Maldives Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon met with Major General Zhang Baoqun, Deputy Director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China, to discuss enhancing defence cooperation between the two countries. Maumoon and 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.

Maumoon and Major General Baoqun signed an agreement on China's provision of military assistance gratis to the Republic of Maldives
Maumoon and Major General Baoqun signed an agreement on China’s provision of military assistance gratis to the Republic of Maldives

The details of the defence cooperation agreement were not provided.

Meanwhile, China has also gifted 12 eco-friendly ambulances to Maldives, Edition.mv news portal reported on Monday.

In a ceremony held at the Ministry of Health on Sunday, Chinese Ambassador to Maldives Wang Lixin presented the letter gifting the ambulances to the Maldives, it said.

The visit of the Chinese military delegation took place 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.”

On January 5, Sri Lanka, while denying entry to the same ship, said it has declared a moratorium on foreign research ships entering its waters for a year amid concerns from India over Chinese research vessels docking in its neighbourhood and collecting data from the oceans, including in the Indian Ocean Region, for military purposes, especially for submarine operations.

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.” The visit of the Chinese military delegation to the Maldives is taking place days after India confirmed that its first civilian team of technical experts has reached the island nation to replace the military personnel operating an advanced light helicopter in the country.

President Muizzu, widely seen as a pro-China leader, has set March 10 as the deadline for the withdrawal of the first group of Indian military personnel from his country.

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