New Delhi: India and the Maldives agreed to set up a core group in reference to the withdrawal of Indian troops from the island nation following the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu in Dubai, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, while addressing a weekly press briefing on Thursday, 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," Bagchi said.

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.

He further reiterated that the platform has been provided by India, and these platforms have been providing much-needed humanitarian assistance.

"The platform provided by India and these platforms have been providing much-needed humanitarian assistance and medical evacuation facilities to the people of the Maldives," adding, "This has been consistently appreciated by the government of the Maldives," MEA Spokesperson Bagchi stressed.

India and the Maldives recently discussed the status and future of Indian platforms engaged in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) activities in the Maldives, sources familiar with the matter said.

The sources also stated that there have been reports about the role of Indian platforms in HADR activities in the Maldives and emphasised the continued recognition of their usefulness.

Recently, President Muizzu has 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.

The Maldives President 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.