President Dr. Muizzu announced that the Indian government has agreed to withdraw its military presence from the Maldivian islands. This declaration comes on the heels of Dr. Muizzu’s return from the COP28 summit held in the UAE.
During a press briefing, President Dr. Muizzu detailed the diplomatic process leading to this resolution. He recounted that his administration, immediately following his inauguration, initiated formal requests for the withdrawal of Indian troops. Discussions with India began even during the transitional phase before his official oath-taking.
"The commitment from the Indian side has been consistent throughout our dialogue. We are now progressing into the technical aspects of the withdrawal process," stated President Dr. Muizzu.
The decision marks a pivotal moment in the Maldives' assertion of its sovereignty and reflects the nation's democratic aspirations. President Dr. Muizzu emphasized that India’s decision to withdraw its forces is a testament to respecting the democratic will of the Maldivian people, who have long voiced their desire for the removal of foreign military personnel.
A noteworthy outcome of Dr. Muizzu's diplomatic efforts is the establishment of a high-level bilateral committee. This committee, formed with the involvement of both countries, aims to address the challenges in executing various India-funded projects in the Maldives and to oversee the management of loans provided by India.
“The Prime Minister of India has agreed to this collaborative approach. The committee's focus will be on finding swift resolutions to the issues we face, particularly in expediting critical projects like the bridge project,” President Dr. Muizzu added.
The announcement comes amidst President Dr. Muizzu’s sideline meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the COP28 Summit in Dubai. These meetings were crucial in addressing the concerns of the Maldivian populace and in forging a path forward in the countries' bilateral relations.
As the Maldives navigates this new chapter in its diplomatic journey, the withdrawal of Indian troops symbolizes a significant stride towards national autonomy and regional stability. The establishment of the joint committee further underscores a commitment to resolving outstanding issues and fostering a cooperative spirit between the two nations.