Amid recent row Maldives Urgently Requests India’s Troop Withdrawal by March 15

January 14, 2024

Male: In a recent development, Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu has formally asked India to withdraw its military personnel from the country by March 15, marking a crucial move nearly two months after the initial request. According to government statistics, there are currently 88 Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives.

Maldives President Mohammed Muizzu
Maldives and China have signed 20 important agreements during President Mohammed Muizzu’s visit. Getty Images

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Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim, the public policy secretary at the President’s Office, emphasized that the policy of President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu and the current administration strictly adheres to the withdrawal of Indian military personnel from the Maldives. The call for withdrawal has been a pivotal point in the diplomatic relationship between the two nations.

To negotiate the withdrawal of troops, a high-level core group has been established by Maldives and India. The group convened its first meeting at the Foreign Ministry Headquarters in Male’, attended by Indian High Commissioner Munu Mahawar. The meeting centered around the pressing request for troop withdrawal by March 15.

While the Indian government has yet to confirm the media report or provide an official statement, this call for withdrawal comes amid tensions fueled by derogatory comments made by three deputy ministers of the Muizzu government against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

President Muizzu, considered a pro-China leader, sought to strengthen ties with Beijing during his recent state visit to China. Indirectly addressing India, he asserted the need for independence and sovereignty, announcing plans to diversify Maldives’ dependencies and reduce reliance on India for essential commodities.

As this diplomatic saga unfolds, it poses challenges to the longstanding bilateral agreements between Maldives and India, with Male reviewing over 100 agreements signed during the previous government. The strategic decision to request troop withdrawal reflects a shifting geopolitical landscape in the region.

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