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Updated January 14th, 2024 at 17:25 IST

Maldives President Muizzu Issues Ultimatum To India For Withdrawal Of Troops By March 15

Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu has asked India to withdraw its military personnel by March 15 amid tensions regarding tourism.

Digital Desk
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File photo of Muizzu with PM Modi. | Image:ANI
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Amid rising tensions between India and Maldives, the Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu has asked India to withdraw its military personnel by mid-March. Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim, the public policy secretary at the President's Office, said on January 14 that the President has issued a deadline for the removal of 88 Indian troops in the Island nation by March 15. 

“Indian military personnel cannot stay in the Maldives. This is the policy of President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu and that of this administration,” he said per PTI which cited the SunOnline newspaper. 

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Notably, Maldives and India have set up a high-level core group to negotiate the withdrawal of troops and its first meeting took place on January 14 at the Foreign Ministry Headquarters in Male. Indian High Commissioner Munu Mahawar also attended the meeting. The Central government, however has not issued a statement about the development. 

The Maldivian President Muizzu, who took oath on November 17, was elected to power on an anti-India stance. He said that the Maldivian people have given him a "strong mandate" to request New Delhi to withdraw its troops. 

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The latest development comes when tensions are high between Maldives and India after a few Maldivian ministers, who have now been suspended, made derogatory and racist comments against Indians and PM Narendra Modi

Despite the suspension, Muizzu seems little interested in controlling the damage. After returning from his 5-day trip to China, he said without naming India that Maldives “may be small, but that doesn’t give you the license to bully us.” 

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He also announced plans to reduce the country's dependency on India, including securing imports of essential food commodities and medicine and consumables from other countries.

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Published January 14th, 2024 at 17:21 IST

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