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Maldives’ President Muizzu Calls for Withdrawal of Indian Military Presence

During his inauguration, President Mohamed Muizzu reiterated his commitment to employ diplomacy in ensuring the absence of foreign military presence on Maldivian soil. In a departure from his predecessor’s “India first” policy, Muizzu emphasized the need to remove a small Indian military contingent of approximately 75 personnel, marking a shift in geopolitical dynamics where India and China vie for influence in the Indian Ocean.

Muizzu highlighted the establishment of a “thick red line” concerning security issues in the Maldives, promising to respect the security red lines of other nations. He stated, “Using the instrument of diplomacy, I will ensure that this country has no foreign military presence on its soil. I assure you there is no greater honor for me than being loyal to my beloved Maldives.”

Addressing his election promise, Muizzu expressed determination to bring back Indian military personnel “as soon as possible.” However, he also underscored his commitment to fostering stronger investment ties with both India and China to stimulate economic growth.

In acknowledging the economic challenges facing the Maldives, Muizzu described the growing debt as a “danger” and pledged to implement “swift and bold” measures to address the issue. The country’s public debt had risen to $7 billion, or 113.5% of GDP, by the end of 2022, reflecting sustained borrowing to finance budget deficits and infrastructure projects.

Noteworthy attendees at Muizzu’s inauguration included U.S. Agency for International Development administrator Samantha Power and Chinese State Councillor Shen Yiqin, underlining the international significance of the Maldives in geopolitical discussions. Shen Yiqin is set to conclude his visit to the Maldives before flying to Sri Lanka on Saturday.


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