Malé: Mohamed Muizzu, the newly elected President of the Maldives, has made it clear that ensuring the nation’s sovereignty is a top priority, and this includes eliminating foreign military presence on Maldivian soil. In his inaugural address, he emphasized his commitment to this goal, and subsequently, during a meeting with Indian Union Minister Kiren Rijiju, he formally requested the withdrawal of approximately 70 Indian soldiers stationed in the country.
While seeking the departure of foreign troops, President Muizzu has also expressed a desire to maintain positive relations with both India and China. He acknowledged the valuable contributions India has made to Maldivian security and public welfare, particularly in areas such as emergency medical evacuations, disaster relief, and combating maritime piracy.
Despite calls for the withdrawal of Indian troops, President Muizzu has assured India that he does not intend to replace the Indian military presence with Chinese troops. He has stressed the importance of maintaining a delicate balance in Maldivian relations with both India and China, recognizing the geopolitical complexities in the region.
The Maldivian government and Indian authorities have agreed to engage in discussions to find mutually agreeable solutions that allow for the continued use of Indian military platforms, such as radars, surveillance aircraft, and warships, to support Maldivian security needs.
President Muizzu’s presidency marks a new chapter in Maldivian foreign policy, as he seeks to navigate the intricate geopolitical landscape of the Indian Ocean region while safeguarding the Maldives’ sovereignty and national interests.