New Delhi: Maldives Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer on Thursday said discussions were held with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar regarding President Mohamed Muizzu's visit to India "very soon'.

Maldives Foreign Minister also defended President Muizzu's move to visit China and not India after he was elected to the top office and said that the discussion was held with New Delhi over the visit to India but was pushed back considering the 'convenience' of both sides.

"The president visited Turkey as well as China. I think that mainly on convenience because obviously, we did discuss with Delhi about a visit. But for the convenience of both sides, we thought it might be okay for us to delay it a little bit," he said.

The minister also shared that during his recent meeting with the External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, discussions were held to organise President Muizzu's visit to Delhi.

"So, in fact, even today, with my discussions with the External Affairs Minister, we are discussing the President's visit to Delhi very soon. Hopefully," he said.

He also made it amply clear that there is no military pact with China.

"I don't think there is any military pact with China. One thing the President of Maldives has clearly said is that we are not bringing in any foreign militaries in the Maldives, no, we are not," he said.

Emphasising that "peace and security" of the Indian Ocean is important for countries in the neighbourhood including India, Maldivian Foreign Minister said that his government has "not permitted the Chinese vessel" for research purposes in the Maldivian waters.

The statement by the Maldivian Foreign Minister came in the wake of the Chinese marine research vessel Xiang Yang Hong 3 returning to Maldivian waters, marking its second visit to the archipelago nation within two months.

"The peace and security of the Indian Ocean is important for both India and Maldives and Sri Lanka and the rest of the countries that we have in the neighbourhood. So, we will continue to work together as I said earlier," he said.

Elaborating on the port call for Chinese vessels, he said, "Our government issued personal rotation and friendly portable permits, and diplomatic clearances came from the Chinese side, which is very common in Maldives."

"So that's how it has happened we as a peaceful country, welcome those vessels which come for peaceful purposes. But they didn't come for research in the Maldivian waters, we have not permitted the Chinese vessel for research in the Maldivian waters," Maldivian Foreign Minister said while maintaining that research vessels are not welcome in the Maldivian waters.

He laid stress on discussions revolving around debt relief measures during his meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and mentioned that economic cooperation with India has been an "integral part of the Maldivian economy".

"Economic cooperation with India has actually been an integral part of Maldivian economy. If you look at the Maldivian macroeconomic indicators when we took over the government, you will see what I'm talking about. So obviously, if there is any debt with any country that we need to discuss based on those figures," he said in an interview with ANI.

"So I did discuss that and we will continue to be engaged. But Maldivian people have benefited from the debt that we have received and also from a lot of grants that we have received from the Indian government. And we really appreciate that," he added.

Earlier today, Jaishankar held delegation-level talks with Maldivian Foreign Minister Mossa Zameer, who had arrived in India a day earlier.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the development of ties between India and the Maldives is based on mutual interests and reciprocal sensitivity of the two countries.

In his opening remarks at delegation-level talks, Jaishankar extended a "very very warm welcome" to Zameer on his first visit to the country in his current capacity, which the EAM said provides an opportunity to discuss bilateral ties and chart out future directions."

From January 8-12, Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu visited China, marking his first state visit after he took the oath as president.

The Foreign Minister also distanced his government from the derogatory remarks made by some of its ministers against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that it was not the stand of the government and that "proper action" has been taken to ensure that it is not repeated

"I think if you have seen, like you said, we have said that it's not the stand of the government or it's not the view of the government. And we believe it shouldn't have been done. And then we are taking proper action to make sure that this don't repeat," he said in an interview with ANI.

"And I think if you have seen, there has been a misunderstanding, social media mainly, but the governments of the Maldives in India, we understand what has happened and we have passed that stage now," he added.

The row between India and the Maldives broke out over derogatory posts made by three officials about PM Narendra Modi.

Following derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maldives Deputy Youth Ministers Mariyam Shiuna, Mahzoom Majid and Malsha Shareef have been suspended indefinitely, but all three will continue to receive their salaries, the President's Office has said, Maldives local media Adhadhu reported.

Providing further information about the suspensions, Maldives President's Office Communications Minister Ibrahim Khaleel told Adhadhu that the three deputy ministers were suspended indefinitely as a measure taken to look into the matter.

Maldives PM said that his country's defence relations with India go beyond military personnel and the two countries will work together to make the Indian Ocean a peaceful place.

The Maldives Minister, who arrived in India on May 8, said in an interview that the platforms that were being handled by Indian military personnel in his country, will be handled by civilians."I think Maldives-India defence relations go beyond military personnel. And now, those platforms which have been handled by the military personnel will be handled by civilians. We have had a joint exercise with the Maldivian military, Indian military and Sri Lanka, I think Bangladesh is an observer and we will continue to have these exercises," Zameer said.

On May 3, India and Maldives held the fourth meeting of the bilateral High-Level Core Group and reviewed the replacement of Indian military personnel from the Island nation by May 10.

This report is auto-generated from a syndicated feed