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Mohamed Muizzu, new president of Maldives, asks India to withdraw military presence
Mohamed Muizzu won the presidential runoff election in Maldives held on Sept 30. Photo courtesy: Wikipedia Creative Commons

Mohamed Muizzu, new president of Maldives, asks India to withdraw military presence

| @indiablooms | 18 Nov 2023, 08:52 pm

Male: A day after his inauguration, Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu's office, on Saturday, officially requested the withdrawal of India's military presence from the country, media reports said.

The announcement stated that President Muizzu formally made the request during his meeting with Union Minister Kiren Rijiju at the President's Office earlier that day, according to an NDTV report.

Minister Rijiju, who serves as the Minister of Earth Sciences, was present in the country to participate in Muizzu's swearing-in ceremony.

Currently, India maintains approximately 70 soldiers in the Maldives, responsible for operating radars and surveillance aircraft, while Indian warships assist in patrolling the country's exclusive economic zone.

Removal of foreign troops from the archipelago was one of the primary commitments made by the new president.

He also emphatically reiterated the pledge in his inaugural address to the nation on Friday following his swearing-in.

Without naming India, Muizzu said, "The country will not have any foreign military personnel in the Maldives."

"When it comes to our security, I will draw a red line. The Maldives will respect the red lines of other countries too," news agency AFP quoted him as saying.

Earlier in the week, Muizzu, who is generally perceived as pro-China, informed AFP that his objective was not to disrupt the regional equilibrium by substituting Indian military presence with Chinese troops.

"Maldives is too small to be entangled in geopolitical rivalry. I am not very much interested in engaging the Maldivian foreign policy in this," he had said.

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