‘Will not allow any country to interfere…’ Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu to Parliament
While addressing the Maldivian Parliament, 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.
Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu told the Parliament on Monday that the island nation will not allow "any country to interfere with or undermine our sovereignty". According to local media reports, he stated that Male and New Delhi had decided that Indian forces will withdraw from the Maldives by May 10.
He said Indian troops on one of the three aviation platforms in the island nation will leave by March 10, and those on the other two will pull out by May 10. "The Maldives will not extend their arrangement with India to map the interior and underwater regions of the nation. We will not allow any country to interfere with or undermine our sovereignty," the President said.
The two main opposition parties - MDP and Democrats - boycotted President Muizzu's speech.
India has 87 troops in the island nation to provide humanitarian aid and medical evacuation. President Muizzu's campaign had focused on reducing Indian influence in affairs of The Maldives and the presence of Indian soldiers emerged as a major point of contention ever since he took over.
President Muizzu, who is widely seen as pro-China, came to power in November 2023 after defeating India-friendly incumbent Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. He visited China shortly after assuming office and had a meeting with President Xi Jinping. In light of the geopolitical dynamics in the Indian Ocean area, this marked a significant milestone in addition to the Maldives' historically close connections to India.
Shortly after taking office, he formally requested New Delhi to withdraw its military presence from the island nation, saying that the Maldives "hopes that India will honour the democratic will of the people".