Maldives President Dr Mohamed Muizzu, during a press conference on Sunday, claimed that the Indian government has agreed to withdraw its military from the island nation. Muizzu said his top officials 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. Muizzu's latest statement came after concluding his crucial visit to Turkyie and the United Arab Emirates. Earlier last month, a Maldivian official claimed that there were 77 Indian military personnel in the Maldives and the new Maldivian government was reviewing more than 100 agreements signed with New Delhi.
PM Modi and Muizzu discussed the matter in Dubai
According to the statement, the President highlighted that he had engaged in several fruitful dialogues with representatives of the Indian Government, specifically addressing the withdrawal of Indian military personnel from the Maldives. During the presser, he recalled his meeting with Indian officials on the second day of assuming office, during which he officially requested the Government of India to withdraw its military personnel from the Maldives.
Further, President Dr Muizzu highlighted that during his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of COP28 in Dubai, both the leaders had agreed to establish a high-level committee comprising senior government officials representing both the Maldives and India, tasked with coordinating efforts to address the challenges associated with ongoing development projects in the Maldives.
What led to the removal of Indian troops from Maldives?
Muizzu was sworn in by Chief Justice Us Ahmed Muthasim Adnan after his surprise victory in September's presidential election. The election was seen as a virtual referendum on which regional power — China or India — should have the biggest influence on the Indian Ocean archipelago.
Critics say secrecy in the agreement between India and Solih's government regarding the role and number of Indian military personnel has led to suspicion and rumours. The Indian military is known to operate two Indian-donated helicopters and to assist in the rescue of people who are stranded or facing calamities at sea.
Solih had been expected to easily win the election, with his main rival Abdulla Yameen unable to run after being jailed on a corruption conviction, and Muizzu selected by his party as a fallback candidate.