Earlier last month Union Minister Kiren Rijiju paid a visit to Maldives and met Muizzu

Male: Officials from the Indian High Commission in the Maldives met with officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Male, Maldives, local media reported on Sunday.

According to local newspaper SunOnline International, Maldives and India have initiated official talks regarding the withdrawal of Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives.

However, the Ministry of External Affairs has not issued any statement on the reported meeting so far.

The newspaper cited Ibrahim Khaleel, the Minister at the President's Office for Strategic Communications, as saying that the meeting was that of the high-level core group that Maldives and India agreed to set up during the meeting between Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the COP28 in December.

According to SunOnline International, the talks began at the Foreign Ministry headquarters in Male.

Khaleel said the group was discussing the withdrawal of Indian military personnel and expediting India-backed development projects in the Maldives, the publication reported.

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.

On the second day of assuming office, Muizzu officially requested the Indian government to withdraw its military personnel from the Maldives.

In December last year, President Muizzu claimed that, after dialogue with the Indian government, an agreement has been reached to withdraw Indian military personnel.

This comes a day after Maldives President Muizzu said that Maldives cannot be "bullied" despite its small size.

A diplomatic row erupted over disparaging remarks made by some Maldivian deputy ministers and government officials against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lakshadweep visit.

Several Maldivian politicians, including former presidents and ministers, too, condemned the remarks and reiterated that India was a close and important partner for the island nation.

In the face of online fury and a flurry of cancellations of scheduled visits to the island country, the Maldivian government distanced itself from the remarks made by its ministers.

Maldivian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Moosa Zameer, said such remarks against foreign leaders were "unacceptable" and did not reflect the official position of the government.

Meanwhile, Muizzu was on a state visit to China from January 7-12 at the invitation of President Xi Jinping. Xi also hosted a state banquet for President Muizzu and First Lady Sajidha Mohamed.