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India should read writing on the wall about troop presence in the Maldives

China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-22 07:39
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Mohamed Muizzu, the newly elected president of Maldives speaks during his inauguration ceremony in Male, Maldives November 17, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu said last week, shortly after taking the oath of office, that he would ensure no foreign troops are stationed in the country to safeguard the country's sovereignty.

Muizzu did not name India directly, but considering that only India maintains a military presence in the Maldives, Muizzu's stance is seen as an open call for the withdrawal of Indian troops and a step away from his predecessor's "India first" policy.

According to a statement released by the Maldives President's Office, the Maldivian people had given him "a strong mandate to make this request to India", and he "hoped that India would respect the democratic aspirations of the Maldivian people".

In his inaugural address, Muizzu expressed his commitment to giving priority to the interests of Maldivians, and ensuring that no other country's interests supersede those of the Maldives and its people.

In 1988, India forcibly intervened in the internal affairs of the Maldives by sending troops under the pretext of "assisting in its counterinsurgency". In 2018, after he was elected Maldivian president with support from India, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih promoted the "India first" policy.

In return, India provided the island country with large amounts of military aid. However, the military equipment is operated by Indian military personnel, which has become an excuse for India's long-term military presence in the Maldives.

India has always pursued a condescending and unilaterally egoistic position in the Indian Ocean. But all its efforts have been in vain, besides causing great dissatisfaction among the local people.


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