The president of the Indian Ocean archipelago, Mohamed Muizzu, declared on Sunday that the Indian government had decided to remove its troops from the Maldives. After running on a platform of changing the Maldives’ “Neighbour first” policy and promising to remove the 75-person small Indian military presence, Muizzu won the presidency in September.
Muizzu made the comments after speaking with Indian authorities outside of the COP28 climate conference. A request for comment on Sunday was not immediately answered by India’s minister of foreign affairs.
“In the discussions we had, the Indian government has agreed to remove Indian soldiers,” Muizzu mentioned in conversation with reporters. “We also agreed to set up a high level committee to solve issues related to development projects.”
China and India have been competing for influence in the region, and it is thought that the coalition backing Muizzu has a stronger inclination toward China. The majority of Indian military personnel were stationed in the Maldives to oversee and control two helicopters and a Dornier aircraft that India had donated to the Maldives.
India supports in disaster relief efforts, has been building a navy dockyard in the Maldives, and supplies certain military hardware to the country. Muizzu pledged after his inauguration last month to make sure there is no foreign military presence in his nation.
He had brought up the matter of the evacuation of Indian troops with India’s Minister of Earth Sciences, Kiren Rijiju, who had represented the country during the president’s inauguration.