Maldives President asks India to withdraw military personnel from island
A day after his inauguration, Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu's office announced on Saturday that the government has officially requested India to withdraw its military presence from the country.
A day after his inauguration, Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu's office announced on Saturday that the government has officially requested India to withdraw its military presence from the country. The announcement stated that President Muizzu formally made the request during his meeting with Union Minister Kiren Rijiju at the President's Office earlier in the day. Minister Rijiju, holding the portfolio for earth sciences, was in the Maldives to attend the swearing-in ceremony.
India currently deploys approximately 70 soldiers in the Maldives, responsible for operating radars and surveillance aircraft. Additionally, Indian warships play a role in patrolling the exclusive economic zone of the country.
One of the primary commitments of the new Maldives President, Mohamed Muizzu, has been the withdrawal of foreign troops from the archipelago, a pledge he reiterated in his first address to the nation after being sworn in on Friday.
Without explicitly naming India, President Muizzu emphasized, "The country will not have any foreign military personnel in the Maldives." He underlined the importance of respecting red lines in matters of national security, stating, "When it comes to our security, I will draw a red line. The Maldives will respect the red lines of other countries too," as quoted by the news agency AFP.
Earlier in the week, President Muizzu, perceived as pro-China, clarified to AFP that his intention was not to upset the regional balance by replacing Indian military presence with Chinese troops. He expressed a pragmatic approach, stating, "Maldives is too small to be entangled in geopolitical rivalry. I am not very much interested to engage the Maldivian foreign policy in this."