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Maldives Asks India To Withdraw Troops By March 15

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Maldives President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu has asked India to withdraw its military personnel by mid-March.

The President’s Office public policy secretary, Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim, stated during a news conference on Sunday afternoon that President Muizzu has formally requested that India remove its military personnel by March 15.

The latest government statistics indicate that there are eighty-eight Indian military soldiers in the Maldives.

A high-level core group has been established by India and the Maldives to negotiate the troop withdrawal. The group held its first meeting at the Foreign Ministry Headquarters in Male’ on Sunday morning. Munu Mahawar, the Indian High Commissioner, was also present during the meeting.

Nazim verified the meeting and stated that the request to remove troops by March 15 was on the agenda.

A high-level core group has been established by India and the Maldives to negotiate the troop withdrawal. The group held its first meeting at the Foreign Ministry Headquarters in Male’ on Sunday morning. Munu Mahawar, the Indian High Commissioner, was also present during the meeting.

Nazim verified the meeting and stated that the request to remove troops by March 15 was on the agenda.

He anticipates that the meeting will go well into the night.

“Indian military personnel cannot stay in the Maldives. This is the policy of President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu and that of this administration,” he said.

President Muizzu had built his presidential campaign on the promise of expelling Indian military personnel from the Maldives, and had made a formal request to India to withdraw its military personnel soon after assuming to office.

Speaking to press on Saturday, after he returned to the Maldives after a five-day state visit to China, President Muizzu indirectly attacked India.

Without naming any country, he said, “We may be small, but that doesn’t give you the license to bully us.”

He also announced plans to reduce the country’s dependency on India, including securing imports of essential food commodities and medicine and consumables from other countries.

“We aren’t in anyone’s backyard. We are an independent and sovereign state,” he said, addressing the reporters gathered at the Velana International Airport.

He said that no country has the right to exert influence over the domestic affairs of a country, regardless of its size.

He vowed that he will not allow any external influence on the domestic affairs of the Maldives.

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