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On November 18, just one day after President Mohamed Muizzu assumed office in the Maldives, his administration officially called on India to withdraw its armed forces from the nation. The announcement, issued by the Maldives President’s office, revealed that Muizzu had a meeting with Union Minister Kiren Rijiju earlier that day to convey the formal request. Rijiju, who holds the portfolio for earth sciences, had traveled to the Maldives to witness the swearing-in ceremony.
During the meeting, President Muizzu formally asked the Government of India to remove its military personnel from the Maldives. He emphasized that the strong mandate he received from the Maldivian people in the September Presidential Election empowered him to make this request to India. President Muizzu expressed the hope that India would respect the democratic will of the Maldivian people. In discussions with Minister Kiren Rijiju, Muizzu also acknowledged the crucial role played by two helicopters in facilitating numerous emergency medical evacuations, as highlighted in the statement.
Presently, over 70 Indian soldiers are stationed in the Maldives, primarily responsible for operating surveillance planes and radars. Additionally, Indian warships play a role in policing the exclusive economic zone of the island nation.