Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu
The first contingent of Indian troops will leave Maldives before March 10, President Mohamed Muizzu announced to the nation’s parliament on Monday. He recalled his pre-election pledges to uphold the sovereignty and freedom of the Maldivian people. Additionally, he stated that by May 10, the last two Indian military contingents will depart the island nation.
Departure of Indian troops from Maldives
Known for taking a slant towards China, New Delhi’s economic and strategic competitor, Mohamed Muizzu made the departure of Indian troops from the Maldives one of his primary election promises ahead of being the president of the nation.
In his presidential address, he said he came to power riding on the pledge to “withdraw foreign troops from Maldives, recover the lost part of Maldives seas and cancel any agreement made by the state that could undermine Maldives sovereignty.” According to a story on Sun Online, Mohamed Muizzu declared that he will give the Maldives military the authority to protect the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) around-the-clock.
He claimed that the Maldivian people’s interests are the top priority in the operation of his government. At least 56 MPs, including 44 MPs from the MDP and 13 MPs from the Democrats, abstained from his speech in protest of the “undemocratic ways of the government”.
He was lately charged by the two parties of having an anti-Indian tilt. Following a meeting with New Delhi last week, the Maldives Foreign Ministry announced that all parties had decided that by March 10, 2024, India would replace the military troops in one of the three aviation platforms.
Before Muizzu took over, India and the Maldives had been the closest allies for many years. Tensions between India and the Maldives escalated last month after a minister there made derogatory statements about Prime Minister Narendra Modi for visiting Lakshadweep.
India had officially protested to the Maldivian authorities. Many famous people posted on X, urging others not to travel to the nation because tourism accounts for a big portion of its GDP. India rose from the third to the fifth largest Maldivian market in three weeks following the demands for a boycott. When Muizzu visited China last month, he requested that the communist nation send in more tourists; this was interpreted as a jab at India due to the calls for a boycott.