New Maldives President formally asks India to withdraw military personnel

The New Maldives President, Mohamed Muizzu have formally requested India to withdraw its military personnel from his country, saying the Maldivian people have given him a “strong mandate” to make this request to New Delhi.

Notably, Mohamed Muizzu’s request came when India’s Union Minister Kiren Rejiju paid a courtesy call on the new president at the latter’s office, the Maldivian President’s Office said in a press release.

The exact number of Indian military personnel in the Maldives is not known.

Muizzu, an engineer-turned-politician, took oath as the eighth president of the strategically-located archipelago nation in the Indian Ocean.

Underscoring India’s ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’, India’s Union Minister represented the country at Muizzu’s  inauguration ceremony.

Worth mentioning that Maldives is India’s key maritime neighbour in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and occupies a special place in the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and the ‘Neighbourhood First Policy.’

Maldives’ proximity to the west coast of India (barely 70 nautical miles away from Minicoy and 300 nautical miles away from India’s West coast), and its location at the hub of commercial sea lanes running through the Indian Ocean gives it significant strategic importance to India.