Top US diplomat Donald Lu to travel to India

top us diplomat donald lu to travel to india – The News Mill

ANI Photo | Top US diplomat Donald Lu to travel to India

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu will travel to India and Maldives from January 26 to 31, according to the US Department of State.
In India, US diplomat Lu will “lead a US delegation’s participation at the India-US Forum in New Delhi,” the State Department’s release said.
Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Geoffrey R Pyatt will also participate in the forum. The delegation will engage with Indian government officials and members of the private sector, academia, and media to discuss and enhance opportunities for partnership between the United States and India, it also said.
The Assistant Secretary and delegation will then travel to Maldives, where they will meet with senior Maldivian officials to build US-Maldives cooperation and to advance the establishment of a permanent US Embassy space in Male. The delegation will also engage with members of civil society and higher education officials, the release added.
Lu’s visit to the two Asian nations comes as New Delhi and Male have locked horns over President Mohammad Muizzu asking New Delhi to withdraw its troops from the Maldivian waters and the outrage and diplomatic sparring over disparaging remarks by junior ministers and government officials against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A recent Reuters report stated that a Chinese research vessel was heading to the Maldives, adding that the timing of the development was significant, coming close on the heels of Maldivian President Muizzu’s recent state visit to China, during which the two leaders aimed at strengthening ties.
Responding to the report, the Maldives Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the island country has always been a welcoming destination for vessels of ‘friendly nations’ and continues to host both civilian and military vessels making port calls for peaceful purposes.
The development, however, has raised concerns in New Delhi, as India has previously viewed the presence of such vessels near its shores, including in Sri Lanka in 2022, as problematic, Reuters added in its report.
India and the Maldives on January 14 “agreed to fast-track the withdrawal of Indian military personnel” from the island nation, according to the Maldives’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The removal of Indian troops in the Maldives was the main campaign plank of Muizzu’s party during the Presidential elections. Currently, there are around 70 Indian troops, along with Dornier 228 maritime patrol aircraft and two HAL Dhruv helicopters, stationed On the second day of assuming office, Muizzu officially requested the Indian government to withdraw its military personnel from the Maldives.
Apart from the call for the withdrawal of Indian military personnel, a massive row erupted after a Maldivian deputy minister, along with other cabinet members and government officials, made disparaging and unsavoury references to Primer Minister Narendra Modi’s recent Lakshadweep visit and call to development the Indian archipelago as a global retreat for beach tourism.
The Maldives government, however, distanced itself from the remarks.
Maldivian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Moosa Zameer, said the remarks against foreign leaders are “unacceptable” and do not reflect the official position of the government.

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