India Completes Military Withdrawal from Maldives

New Delhi: India has completed the withdrawal of its military personnel from the Maldives ahead of the May 10 deadline set by President Mohamed Muizzu.

The move fulfills a key campaign promise by Muizzu, who had pledged to repatriate Indian troops stationed in the country, seen as a gesture toward closer ties with China.

The last batch of Indian soldiers, responsible for operating and maintaining helicopters and aircraft gifted by India, has left the Maldives. Although the exact number of personnel repatriated has not been disclosed, earlier reports indicated a total of 89 soldiers.

The repatriation process was part of an agreement between India and the Maldives, with the Indian government confirming the return of the first and second batches of personnel.

This development follows extensive discussions between Maldivian Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer and Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on bilateral relations and regional security during Zameer’s visit to India.

The withdrawal of Indian military personnel marks a significant shift in the relationship between the two countries. The Maldives, situated strategically in the Indian Ocean Region, holds importance for India’s maritime interests, aligning with initiatives such as ‘SAGAR’ and the ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’ of the Modi government.

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