Malé: In a significant shift in foreign policy, the recently elected President of the Maldives, Mohamed Muizzu, has prioritized safeguarding the nation’s sovereignty, including the removal of foreign military presence. President Muizzu, in his inaugural address, underscored his commitment to this objective. Subsequently, during a meeting with Indian Union Minister Kiren Rijiju, he formally requested the withdrawal of around 70 Indian soldiers stationed in the country.
Despite the call for the departure of Indian troops, President Muizzu is keen on maintaining positive relations with both India and China. He acknowledged India’s crucial contributions to Maldivian security and public welfare, particularly in emergency medical evacuations, disaster relief, and combating maritime piracy.
President Muizzu has assured India that the intention is not to replace Indian military presence with Chinese troops. Emphasizing the need for a delicate balance, he recognizes the geopolitical complexities in the region. The Maldivian government and Indian authorities are set to engage in discussions to find mutually agreeable solutions that allow for the continued use of Indian military platforms, including radars, surveillance aircraft, and warships, to support Maldivian security needs.
Muizzu’s presidency signifies a new chapter in Maldivian foreign policy as he navigates the intricate geopolitical landscape of the Indian Ocean region. His focus is on safeguarding the Maldives’ sovereignty and national interests while managing relationships with key regional players.