MALE, MALDIVES - In a recent interview with Al Jazeera, Dr. Mohammed Muizzu, the President-Elect of the Maldives, voiced his concerns about the current foreign policy, emphasizing that it fails to protect the interests and independence of the Maldivian people.
Dr. Muizzu was candid about his apprehensions, stating, "We see foreign troops as a threat. Our national interests are not protected, and we have serious doubts about our independence."
Highlighting the public sentiment, Dr. Muizzu mentioned that the Maldivian people are not in favor of foreign military presence on their soil. "The people of the Maldives do not want foreign troops here. This was evident in the recent elections, where one of the reasons the incumbent president failed to secure a second term was due to public disapproval of the presence of Indian troops in the country," he explained.
Dr. Muizzu expressed his commitment to taking prompt action on this issue. "On the very first day of my presidency, I will request the Indian government to remove their military. If possible, I aim to see the Indian troops leave the Maldives within my first week in office," he affirmed.
When asked to elucidate why the presence of the Indian military was perceived as a threat, the President-Elect responded, "We have been a peaceful country for centuries. Historically, we've never had foreign troops on our land. As a small nation without an extensive military setup, the sight of any foreign military forces makes us feel insecure. Moreover, the ambiguity surrounding their numbers, coupled with the government's reluctance to disclose this information, further exacerbates the public's concerns. It took a Supreme Court intervention for the media to obtain this information."
Dr. Muizzu also clarified the Maldives' stance on international alliances, emphasizing the nation's autonomous approach. "We will not side with any particular country merely to appease them. Our policy is pro-Maldives," he concluded.