Tuesday 16th Apr 2024
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President Muizzu asks Indian Troops to Withdraw before March 15th

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu has informed India that all troops must be withdrawn from the country by March 15, 2024. He made the statement at the first Co-Group meeting held at the Foreign Ministry today to start formal talks on the withdrawal of Indian troops from Maldives.
Principal Secretary to the President on Public Policy, Abdullah Nazim Ibrahim stated at a news conference at the Presidential Palace that 11 meetings have been held at various levels so far on the issue of withdrawal of Indian troops from Maldives.The 12th meeting of the Co-Group, which began this morning, is still underway at the Foreign Ministry, he said.
"For this meeting, the government, the President has proposed to complete the withdrawal of Indian troops from this country by March 15. The President's Office has specifically proposed the said date for the agenda of this meeting.”
Abdullah Nazim Ibrahim, Principal Secretary to the President on Public Policy
The meeting is attended by the Indian High Commissioner to Maldives Munu Mahawar, the Indian Foreign Secretary, and other senior officials from the country. Senior officials from the Foreign Ministry and the President's Office also attended the meeting.

President Dr. Muizzu has stated during his campaign that one of the major pledges of his presidency is the removal of the Indian military from the Maldives. The government has recently announced that there are currently 88 Indian Military personnel in the country. The President told reporters at the airport after attending the COP 28 summit that the Indian government has agreed to withdraw its troops from Maldives. The president had earlier asked India to give them an exact date before March.

This all comes after Dr. Muizzu returned from China and immediately held a press conference, where he stated that Maldives is not any “particular country’s backyard.” Despite the difference in size and economic power, both Maldives and China regard each other as equals, which serves as a testament to their mutual understanding and respect for sovereignty.
"There should be no discrimination between the size of the country, the proximity of one country to another and the fact that it is far away. There is a principle [in China-Maldives relations] that big countries should not discriminate against small countries.”
President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu
Maldives and China have highlighted their mutual support for sovereign equality, territorial integrity and non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs. The President went on to say that the Indian Ocean does not belong to any one country, but to all countries which border it.

The President also announced yesterday that the government is expanding Aasandha to cover medical expenses and accommodation in Thailand and the UAE to reduce Maldives’ dependence on India for medical treatment. Additionally, instead of importing medicines from India, they are trying to import high-quality medicines from Europe and the United States, and from next March, patients will not be transported within Maldives by Indian helicopters and Dornier planes.