Monday, May 20, 2024
Advertisement
  1. You Are At:
  2. News
  3. World
  4. Maldives to reach point of no 'foreign' military presence soon, says President Muizzu

Maldives to reach point of no 'foreign' military presence soon, says President Muizzu

Muizzu on Monday said the first group of Indian military personnel will be sent back from the Maldives before March 10 and the remaining before May 10. India has around 80 military personnel there to operate two advanced light helicopters and an aircraft to carry out humanitarian missions.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Male Published on: February 07, 2024 23:04 IST
Maldives, Mohamed Muizzu, India maldives relations
Image Source : PTI (FILE) Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu

Male: Amid strained relations with neighbouring India, newly-appointed Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu on Wednesday that his country will soon reach a point where there is no "foreign" military presence by bolstering the defence capabilities, weeks after he sought the withdrawal of Indian defence personnel from the archipelago nation.

This comes a day after Muizzu, widely seen as a pro-China leader, reiterated his earlier stance on the removal of Indian troops from the archipelago nation in an address boycotted by two main opposition parties - the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and The Democrats. He asserted that the Maldives will maintain autonomous control over all its territories, including maritime, aerial, and terrestrial domains apart from enhancing Maldives' capabilities for conducting underwater surveys.

Local media reports said out of 80 MPs, only 24 were present during Muizzu's address-- thus marking the biggest boycott of any President in the history of Maldives. Muizzu, who has taken an anti-India stance ever since he launched the election campaign last year, said he would not allow any country to interfere or undermine its sovereignty.

In his first presidential speech on Monday, Muizzu said the first group of Indian military personnel will be sent back from the Maldives before March 10 and the remaining manning two aviation platforms will be withdrawn before May 10. Currently, 88 Indian military personnel are in the Maldives primarily to operate two helicopters and an aircraft that have carried out hundreds of medical evacuations and humanitarian missions.

The Indian platforms have been providing humanitarian and medical evacuation services to the people of the Maldives for the last few years. Last week, both countries on Friday agreed on a "set of mutually workable solutions" to enable the continued operation of Indian aviation platforms in the island country. According to the Maldives foreign ministry, India has agreed to "replace" military personnel in three aviation platforms by May 10.

Muizzu on removal of Indian military personnel

A member of the public on the ‘Raees ge Javaabu’ series, a platform that enables the public to get direct responses to their queries from the President via social media, asked Muizzu on Wednesday about the efforts underway to expel foreign military troops in the Maldives. “I am assuring the people that the Maldives will be led to a point where there aren’t any foreign military troops in the country,” Muizzu said.

Noting that all efforts necessary to expel the Indian military troops based in the Maldives officially commenced on the day he assumed office (November 17, 2023), Muizzu said discussions, in this trajectory, were proceeding at a speedy pace in accordance with the principles of diplomacy.

“Hopefully, military personnel in one aviation platform will be withdrawn by March 10th and the military personnel in the remaining platforms during May,” he said, adding that efforts are underway to make arrangements for Maldivians to independently undertake medical evacuation of emergency patients and the surveillance of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

In his Monday address, Muizzu said, "Maldives will not renew the agreement with India to chart the country's inner and underwater charts. We will not allow any country to interfere with or undermine our sovereignty". However, contrary to the claim, New Delhi did not mention a withdrawal, saying instead that both sides agreed on a set of solutions “to enable continued operation of Indian aviation platforms that provide humanitarian and medevac services to the people of Maldives.”  

India-Maldives diplomatic tensions

Notably, the tension between India and Maldives rose after deputy ministers in Male used derogatory language against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The archipelago nation emphasised that the minister's remarks did not represent the view of the incumbent government and subsequently suspended three of the ministers who denounced the visit of PM Modi to Lakshadweep.

After the first meeting of the core group on January 14, the MEA said the two sides were looking at finding a mutually workable solution to enable a continued operation of Indian aviation platforms that provide humanitarian and medical evacuation services to the people of the Maldives. The core group was set up during a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Muizzu on the sidelines of the COP28 summit in Dubai.

India also expressed concern towards the Maldives allowing a Chinese research vessel to dock on its shores, which New Delhi says can be used for "spying" and "research" purposes in the Maldives Special Economic Zone. The MEA on Thursday said India has been keeping a close eye on the movement of the ship. 

(with inputs from PTI)

ALSO READ | Maldives vs Lakshadweep controversy: How India contributes to Maldives' economy through tourism

 

Advertisement

Read all the Breaking News Live on indiatvnews.com and Get Latest English News & Updates from World

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement