Maldives President confirms departure of Indian military personnel amidst geopolitical shifts

President Muizzu, known for his pro-China stance, reiterated that ultimate power rests with the citizens and underscored that foreign ambassadors in Male will not wield authority over his administration.

Author
Satyam Singh
Follow us:
Courtesy: X/@presidencymv

In a recent development, the Maldives President, Mohamed Muizzu, has announced the departure of the second batch of Indian military personnel from the island nation. This move follows the president's insistence on the withdrawal of foreign soldiers from the Maldives, a sentiment he emphasized during his recent campaign event for the ruling People's National Congress party candidates ahead of the parliamentary elections slated for April 21.

President Muizzu, known for his pro-China stance, reiterated that ultimate power rests with the citizens and underscored that foreign ambassadors in Male will not wield authority over his administration. This statement comes in the wake of his previous allegation that his predecessor, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, acted on directives from "a foreign ambassador," without specifying any country.

When did first batch of Indian military personnel depart?

According to the president, the first batch of Indian military personnel departed earlier, with the second group leaving on April 9, in line with his campaign promise to remove foreign soldiers from the Maldives. He also affirmed that the remaining Indian soldiers stationed at the last aviation platform would exit the Maldives before the May 10 deadline, as per the agreement signed between Maldives and India in February.

Details regarding the number of personnel in the second batch and whether they were replaced by trained Indian civilians remain undisclosed. Neither the Maldives Defence Ministry nor India has issued statements regarding this recent withdrawal.

India's military presence in Maldives

Previously, India had stationed 88 soldiers in the Maldives, primarily overseeing helicopter and aircraft operations, as well as providing medical assistance at the Senahiya military hospital. The first group of soldiers left on March 11, with India replacing them with civilians and upgrading equipment.

Escalating diplomatic ties between India-Maldives

The strained relations between Maldives and India since President Muizzu's assumption of power last November contrast with the closer ties being forged with China. President Muizzu's visit to China in January culminated in agreements on defense cooperation and infrastructure projects, signaling a shift in alliances.