The newly elected president of the Maldives has formally requested that India “honour [the] democratic will” of the Maldivian people by removing its soldiers from the island nation, only one day after taking office.
The president’s administration released the request to the public on Saturday, November 18. It was by made by the recently appointed President Mohamed Muizzu during a meeting in the president’s office with Indian Earth Sciences Minister Kiren Rijiju. The swearing-in ceremony for Muizzu was attended by the Indian minister on Friday.
The request was made public by the president’s office of the Maldives, but India has remained silent on the matter.
Rijiju “reiterated India’s commitment to further strengthen the substantive bilateral cooperation and robust people-to-people ties” and gave wishes from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He expressed this in a post on X (previously Twitter).
Declaring that “both countries respect each other,” Ibrahim Khaleel, minister of strategic communication at the president’s office dispelled worries that the proposal would have a detrimental effect on India-Maldives ties, saying that the meeting had been “very positive.”
A press release read, “The President expressed the hope that India will honour the democratic will of the people of the Maldives and noted that at the Presidential Election held in September, the Maldivian people had given him a strong mandate to make the request to India.”
Although New Delhi has not yet released an official statement, Indian sources suggest that India has adopted an accommodative stance over the request for the removal of its military troops who are “present in [the] Maldives for operating aircraft for medical evacuation and counter-drug trafficking purposes.”