Muizzu denies Indian military presence trying to disrupt regional balance by diverting Chinese troops
- The request was made during the visit of Indian Minister Kiren Rijiju to Maldives.
- The official statement did not mention any timeline or number of troops.
- President Muizzu demands removal of all foreign troops from Maldives.
Fulfilling a promise made after assuming office, Maldivian President Mohammed Muizzu on Saturday formally called on India to withdraw its troops from the strategically located archipelago, Indian media reported, prompting New Delhi. Legitimate concerns arose that the Chinese military could not make up the difference.
During a meeting with visiting Indian Earth Sciences Minister Kiren Rijiju, Muizzu made the request, particularly urging the recall of personnel assigned to operate the three aircraft patrolling the maritime zone.
In a brief statement, Muizzu’s office confirmed, “The President formally made the request when he met Kiren Rijiju, India’s Earth Sciences Minister, at the President’s Office today.”
Although the statement did not give a timeline or specify the number of personnel to be withdrawn, Muizzu had declared the removal of foreign troops as a priority during his inauguration the previous day.
Emphasizing his commitment to respect the red lines of other countries in terms of security, he said, “The country will not have any foreign military personnel in the Maldives.”
Muizzu, speaking to AFP earlier in the week, had clarified that his intention was not to disrupt the regional balance by diverting the Indian military presence from Chinese troops.
Despite emphasizing strong ties with China, the Maldives’ major financial backer, Muizzu assured that the move is not aimed at upsetting the geopolitical balance.
Elected as the eighth president of the Maldives in September after gaining independence from Britain in 1965, Muizzu took over as a proxy for his pro-China predecessor, who was jailed on corruption charges.
Known for its pristine beaches and luxurious resorts, the Maldives has developed into a geopolitical hotspot due to its strategic location along the global East-West shipping lane.
During the opening ceremony of Muizu, China was represented by President Xi Jinping’s special envoy, State Councilor Shen Yiqin, who highlighted China’s continued interest in the region.