GG News Bureau
Male, 21st Nov. There were 77 Indian military personnel in the Maldives, and the new government is reviewing over 100 agreements signed with India, according to a senior Maldivian official. This comes after President Mohamed Muizzu formally requested India to withdraw its troops from the island nation.
Mohamed Firuzul Abdul Khaleel, the Undersecretary for Public Policy of the Presidential Office, stated during a press conference that there are 24 Indian military personnel managing the first helicopter, 25 managing the Dornier aircraft, 26 managing the second helicopter, and two more for maintenance and engineering.
President Muizzu, who won the presidential election in September, has initiated efforts to expel all 77 Indian military personnel from the Maldives.
The Maldives is an important maritime neighbor of India in the Indian Ocean Region, and the bilateral ties, including defense and security, have been improving under the government of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. The Maldives is also a major beneficiary of India’s Neighbourhood First policy.
During a meeting with Union Minister of Earth Sciences Kiren Rijiju, President Muizzu officially requested the Indian government to remove their military personnel from the Maldives. Rijiju visited Muizzu’s office a day after attending his inauguration ceremony.
Firuzul mentioned that the previous administration signed over 100 agreements with India, and the new administration is currently reviewing them. The agreements include the Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF) agreement and other defense agreements.
President Muizzu has expressed his commitment to ensuring that the Maldives remains free of any foreign military presence to preserve its independence and sovereignty.
During the meeting with Rijiju, President Muizzu also acknowledged the significant role of the two helicopters in providing emergency medical evacuations in the Maldives.
In May, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visited the Maldives and handed over a fast patrol vessel and a landing craft to the island nation.
The Maldives holds a special place in the Indian Prime Minister’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and the ‘Neighbourhood First Policy.’