HomeIndian DefenceIndia Maldives ties: Maldives President Mohammad Muizzu asks India to withdraw troops...

India Maldives ties: Maldives President Mohammad Muizzu asks India to withdraw troops by March 15

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Maldivian President Mohammad Muizzu, bolstered by his just-concluded China trip, on Sunday asked India to withdraw its military personnel by March 15 in a move that could cast a shadow over bilateral ties.

The decision came following a meeting of the core group (set up after Muizzu-PM Narendra Modi November meet in Dubai) in Male on Sunday at the Maldivian foreign ministry. The meeting was attended by Indian High Commissioner to Maldives Munu Mahawar and defence attaches in the mission.

Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim, the public policy secretary at the President’s Office, said: “Indian military personnel cannot stay in the Maldives. This is the policy of President Dr Mohamed Muizzu and that of this administration.”

The Indian readout of the meeting had no mention of military personnel. It said: “During the meeting, both sides held discussions on wide ranging issues related to bilateral cooperation towards identifying steps to enhance partnership, including expediting the implementation of ongoing development cooperation projects. Both sides also held discussions on finding mutually workable solution to enable continued operation of Indian aviation platforms that provide humanitarian and medvac services…”

Maldives claimed that there are 89 Indian military personnel stationed in the country. In reality, there are 77 Indian military personnel engaged as doctors, trainers for pilots and other platforms, surveyors of exclusive economic zone and joint hydrography.

Muizzu came to power with his “India Out” campaign. The withdrawal of Indian troops from Maldives was a key election promise. The decision came despite Muizzu’s People’s National Congress losing Male mayoral election. Before being nominated to contest as the Head of State, Muizzu held the post. The result is a setback to Muizzu’s ultranationalist posturing. MDP candidate Adam Azim, who won the mayoral election, defeated PNC’s Azima Shakoor by a large margin. ET had earlier reported how MDP has an edge in the Parliamentary polls scheduled for March 17.

In a post on X, MDP leader and former foreign minister Abdulla Shahid said, “Kudos Adam Azim and to the MDP Secretariat on winning the Male Mayoral by-election! The capital city has said a categorical NO to President Muizzu and his policies – within just 58 days in office!”



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