Maldives sets deadline for India to withdraw troops; date here

Military exercise between the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Force in June 2023. [Photo: PIB]

The Maldives has requested that India withdraw its troops stationed in the country by March 15, Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim, a senior aide to President Mohamed Muizzu, announced during a press conference on Sunday.

“Indian military personnel cannot stay in the Maldives. This is the policy of President Dr Mohamed Muizzu and that of this administration,” Ibrahim said.

The two sides have been engaged in negotiations on the matter for several months. The Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives met with Maldivian officials earlier on Sunday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives later stated in a press release that both sides had “agreed to fast track the withdrawal” of India’s military personnel.

The Muizzu government had initially stated that India had 77 military personnel in the Maldives; however, Ibrahim updated the count to 88 on Sunday.

Most of them were deployed to operate and fly two Dornier aircraft and a helicopter given to the Maldives by India for the emergency evacuation of people from the islands, according to Indian media reports.

The Maldives formally sought the removal of Indian troops in November after Muizzu assumed office as president.

A pledge to remove any foreign military influence as well as balancing trade and reducing the Maldives’ Indian influence was part of his presidential campaign – in contrast with his predecessor, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who cultivated close ties with New Delhi.

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