Maldives to withdraw Indian military presence by May 2024

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The Maldivian government has announced its plan to send back all the Indian troops stationed in the island nation by May 10, 2024. This is part of President Mohamed Muizzu’s pledge to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Maldives.

Muizzu’s first presidential address

In his first presidential address to the Parliament on Monday, Muizzu said that he has officially requested India to remove its troops from the Maldives. He said that diplomatic discussions with India are ongoing and that the first group of Indian military personnel will be recalled before March 10, 2024. The remaining Indian troops manning two aviation platforms will also be recalled by May 10, 2024.

Muizzu, who is widely seen as a pro-China leader, said that he believes a large majority of Maldivians support his administration with the expectation that they will remove foreign military presence from the country, and recover the lost oceanic territory. He said that his administration will not allow any state agreements that may compromise the country’s sovereignty.

India’s response

India has said that it has agreed upon a “set of mutually workable solutions” with the Maldives for continuing the operations of Indian aviation platforms in the island nation. India has been providing humanitarian and medical evacuation services to the people of the Maldives for the last few years through its military personnel and helicopters.

Maldives to withdraw Indian

India and the Maldives have traditionally enjoyed close ties, but relations have been strained since Muizzu took office in November 2023. Muizzu has been accused of tilting towards China and undermining India’s security interests in the Indian Ocean region.

Opposition boycotts Parliament session

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the Democrats decided to boycott the opening sitting of the People’s Majlis where Muizzu delivered his first presidential address. They cited the “undemocratic ways of the government” and the “unconstitutional” appointment of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker as the reasons for their protest.

The opposition has also criticized Muizzu’s foreign policy and his decision to send back Indian troops. They have accused him of jeopardizing the national security and the economic development of the Maldives.

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