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Business News/ News / World/  Incoming Maldives president says ‘very successful’ talks underway for removal of Indian troops
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Incoming Maldives president says ‘very successful’ talks underway for removal of Indian troops

Maldives negotiates with India to remove military presence.

Mohamed Muizzu, Maldives' president-elect, during an interview in Male (Bloomberg)Premium
Mohamed Muizzu, Maldives' president-elect, during an interview in Male (Bloomberg)

Maldives has started discussion with India for the removal of the latter's military presence in the region. President-elect Mohamed Muizzu said negotiations were underway and had been “very successful already". Around 75 Indian military officials are currently based out of the country and maintain New Delhi-sponsored radar stations and surveillance aircraft. Indian warships help patrol Maldives’ exclusive economic zone.

We want a bilateral relationship that’s mutually beneficial…We want assistance, cooperation with all the countries," Muizzu told Bloomberg during a recent interview. 

He insisted that the ouster of Indian troops would not mean “that I’m going to allow China or any other country to bring their military troops here.

ALSO READ: India reiterates opposition to China’s BRI, supports programmes in Maldives

The removal of foreign troops had been one of the key poll promises from the Muizzu-led Progressive Party of Maldives. During a heated Presidential elections the winning candidate had accused incumbent Ibrahim Solih of allowing India unchecked sway over the island nation’s affairs. He also claimed that the current leader had surrendered the country’s sovereignty by allowing Indian troops to be stationed in the area.

India is yet to officially address the calls for removal of troops and has merely voiced hope for constructive engagement with the incoming administration. Last week, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had merely noted that cooperation with Maldives was ‘based on jointly addressing shared challenges and priorities’.

“Over the last five years, more than 500 medical evacuations have been carried out by our personnel, saving 523 Maldivian lives. In the same period, more than 450 multi-faceted missions have been carried out to safeguard the maritime security of Maldives. India has also been a first responder for Maldives in any disaster scenario, including most recently during Covid," he told the media.

The Maldives is one of India's key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region and the overall bilateral ties including in areas of defence and security have been on an upward trajectory in the last few years.

(With inputs from agencies)

 

 

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Published: 28 Oct 2023, 01:00 AM IST
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