India to replace military with ‘skilled technical personnel’ in Maldives, Mohamed Muizzu rejoices the exit
In a significant development, India has agreed to replace military personnel with skilled technical experts in Maldives. Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu led the India Out campaign. The recent development signals a change that could reshape the dynamics of the military presence in the region.
India and Maldives have conducted high-level meetings in New Delhi after Mohamed Muizzu's foreign military rhetoric. The Maldives government is desperate to offload the Indian military presence after Muizzu's election victory. The 45-year-old leader banked his whole election campaign on ‘India Out’ slogans.
The Indian government has confirmed that the current military staff in Maldives will be replaced. This comes after Mohamed Muizzu's deadline of March 10. The first phase of Indian military personnel will exit the Indian Ocean archipelago by March 10 while the rest will exit by May.
The Indian External Affairs Ministry has revealed that the outgoing personnel will be replaced by ‘skilled technical personnel’. However, the MEA didn't elaborate on what they mean by ‘skilled technical personnel’. The diplomatic relations between the two South Asian nations are set to move downwards.
Maldives Foreign Ministry stated, “Both sides agreed that the Government of India will replace the military personnel in one of the three aviation platforms by 10 March 2024, and will complete replacing military personnel in the other two platforms by 10 May 2024.”
The trend was supported by Indian citizens as well who on record have ditched Maldives as a prime holiday destination. The January data showcases that Indians replaced Maldives as their prime holiday with Sri Lanka. An increase was also witnessed in the Lakshadweep islands which rattled the now-suspended Maldivian government officials.
The Maldives government has cunningly turned domestic attention towards national security. However, bigger economic issues await the island nation as the IMF has warned Male of high debt risk after increased borrowing from China recently. It also called on the Mohamed Muizzu administration for urgent policy adjustment. Maldives with its China bonhomie could be heading to the Sri Lanka way.