MALE, Maldives – In a significant move, the Maldivian government has officially disclosed the number of Indian military personnel stationed in the country, shedding light on a previously undisclosed aspect of bilateral relations. The announcement came during a press conference held by Firuzul Khaleel, the Undersecretary of Public Policy at the President's Office.
During the press conference, Undersecretary Firuzul revealed that there are currently a total of 77 Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives. This revelation marks a departure from previous government stances, as the disclosure of such information was previously withheld, citing national security concerns.
The breakdown of the Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives is as follows:
25 soldiers responsible for operating the Dornier military aircraft.
24 personnel designated to operate one helicopter.
26 personnel assigned to operate another helicopter.
2 individuals engaged in engineering and maintenance work.
In addition to the disclosure of military numbers, Undersecretary Firuzul announced that the government would be closely scrutinizing a total of 100 agreements made with India over the past five years. He clarified that these agreements do not include those related to developmental projects, which are subject to separate considerations.
During his address, Undersecretary Firuzul emphasized that the purpose of the review is to identify clauses within these agreements that might undermine the sovereignty of the Maldives. Such clauses will be subject to revision or revocation as deemed necessary to protect the interests and sovereignty of the nation.
This development follows former President Ibrahim Solih's administration's refusal to disclose the number of Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives, citing national security concerns.
In a related development, President Dr.Muizzu formally requested the Government of India to withdraw its military presence from the Maldives.
The disclosure of Indian military numbers and the subsequent review of agreements signal a potential shift in Maldivian foreign policy and the reevaluation of its relationship with its neighbors. As both nations navigate these changes, the coming weeks and months are expected to bring further clarity on the future direction of Maldives-India relations.