President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu states India has agreed to withdraw its troops based in the Maldives.
Speaking to the press at Velana International Airport (VIA) on Sunday evening after returning from his maiden trip abroad since assuming office – President Muizzu reiterated his pledge to remove foreign troops from Maldivian soil.
In this trajectory, President Muizzu said his government, the day after assuming office, officially requested to withdraw the Indian troops. He assured that the decision will not change in the future.
“It is not a remark made during the campaign to secure votes. Because I am a Maldivian, I wish to put forward Maldivian citizens and the interests of the nation. Maldivians come to me first,” he said.
He further detailed that efforts have taken place through diplomatic channels for the removal of the troops, adding approximately five high-level meetings have been held to date.
“During all efforts undertaken before this and efforts undertaken to date, the Indian government has come to an agreement with us to withdraw the troops,” he added.
Expressing hope for the withdrawal of Indian troops to be enforced at the earliest, President Muizzu also expressed hope for continued relations between the two nations. On this note, he detailed that efforts are presently underway at a technical level to achieve this.
Speaking further, President Muizzu revealed that an agreement has been made with the Indian government to form a high-level committee to address difficulties faced in the undertaking of projects initiated by India in the Maldives.
“Both nations have agreed to form a high-level committee that can take immediate decisions with respect to projects, including the biggest project which is the bridge project proceeding near Male’, alongside situations arising concerning loans and other national crises,” he said.
President Muizzu met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Twenty-Eighth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in Dubai, UAE.
Commenting on the meeting, the President said PM Modi conveyed that he respected the democratic decision made by the Maldivian people. He added that PM Modi cited respecting this decision as the best way forward for the Maldives and this region.
As per the current administration, there are 77 Indian soldiers stationed in the Maldives.