MALE, MALDIVES – In a decisive move that marks a new direction in Maldivian foreign policy, President Dr. Ibrahim Muizzu has formally requested the Government of India to withdraw its troops stationed in the Maldives. This bold request was made during a meeting with India’s Minister of Earth Sciences, Mr. Kiren Rijiju, who is currently in the Maldives as a representative of the Indian government.
The meeting took place just one day after President Muizzu’s inauguration ceremony, held on November 17, 2023. The request comes as a fulfillment of Dr. Muizzu’s major campaign pledge and less than 24 hours after he assumed office, underscoring his commitment to this issue.
Throughout his campaign, Dr. Muizzu consistently emphasized his intention to revoke agreements made with India, which undermines the sovereignty of the Maldives. His stance resonates with his nationalistic platform, aimed at reducing foreign influence in Maldivian affairs.
India’s military presence in the Maldives has been a subject of growing debate. Under the previous administration led by President Solih, India’s influence in the Maldives, including the development of a naval base and the increased military presence at multiple locations, has been a point of contention.
In his inaugural address, President Muizzu firmly stated that no foreign power should undermine the sovereignty of the Maldives. His recent action to request the withdrawal of Indian troops is seen as a significant step towards fulfilling this promise. This move is expected to have far-reaching implications for Maldives-India relations and the regional geopolitical landscape.
As the Maldives embarks on this new chapter under President Muizzu’s leadership, the nation watches closely to see how India will respond to this request and how this will shape the future of Maldivian sovereignty and independence.