Maldives President Announces Withdrawal of Indian Troops, Affirms Commitment to Sovereignty

April 4, 2024 8:19 am

Maldives President Announces Withdrawal of Indian Troops, Affirms Commitment to Sovereignty

In a significant development, Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu has declared that the second batch of Indian military troops stationed in the country will depart by the end of April, with the complete withdrawal expected to conclude by May 10. This announcement marks another step in the ongoing process of transitioning military operations to civilian hands.

President Muizzu’s statement comes after the departure of the first batch of Indian military personnel earlier in March, who had been overseeing operations of a helicopter provided by India. The transition, adhering to agreed-upon deadlines, reflects the collaborative efforts between the Maldives and India to ensure a smooth and timely withdrawal.

The decision to replace Indian military personnel, who were providing humanitarian and medical evacuation services in the Maldives, was reached following a high-level meeting between the two nations in February. President Muizzu reiterated his government’s commitment to safeguarding Maldives’ sovereignty, emphasizing the orderly execution of the withdrawal process.

Notably, President Muizzu’s stance on the presence of foreign troops aligns with his administration’s pro-China policies. Since assuming office, he has prioritized strengthening ties with Beijing, including signing defense agreements with the Chinese military. The recent Memorandum of Understanding between Maldives Industrial Development Free Zone and China Harbour Engineering Company Limited further underscores the growing partnership between the two nations.

As the withdrawal of Indian troops progresses, President Muizzu reaffirms his vision for an independent Maldives, free from foreign military presence. The ongoing transition reflects the evolving geopolitical dynamics in the Indian Ocean region and the Maldives’ strategic position within it.

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