Maldives’ new power move – President Muizzu demands India remove military forces
Just a day into his presidency, Mohamed Muizzu’s office in the Maldives has made a bold move by officially requesting India to withdraw its military presence from the country. This sensational development, reported by NDTV, indicates a significant shift in Maldives-India relations, sparking discussions about “workable solutions” between the two governments.
President Muizzu’s Firm Stand on Indian Troops
President Muizzu formally conveyed this request during a meeting with India’s Union Minister Kiren Rijiju. Rijiju, the Minister of Earth Sciences, was in the Maldives to attend President Muizzu’s swearing-in ceremony. This move aligns with President Muizzu’s campaign promises and his inaugural speech, where he emphasized the country’s stance against foreign military personnel on Maldivian soil.
India’s Military Role in the Maldives
India currently has around 70 soldiers in the Maldives, primarily engaged in manning radars and surveillance aircraft, and assisting in patrolling the country’s exclusive economic zone. These forces play a crucial role in medical evacuations and anti-drug trafficking operations. Indian warships also contribute to safeguarding the Maldives’ maritime boundaries.
Acknowledgment and Future Cooperation
During the meeting, President Muizzu acknowledged the significant role of Indian helicopters and planes in medical emergencies and in boosting the confidence of international tourists on remote islands. Both governments agreed to discuss continuing cooperation using these platforms, balancing Maldives’ sovereignty with mutual interests.
President Muizzu’s Political Promise
The withdrawal of foreign troops has been a central theme of President Muizzu’s political promise, reflecting his commitment to fulfilling this pledge. This request marks a crucial point in the Maldives’ foreign policy, underscoring the new administration’s approach to international relations and national sovereignty.