Indian Military exits from MaldivesTop Stories

May 11, 2024 11:58
Indian Military exits from Maldives

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President Mohamed Muizzu of Maldives has requested the withdrawal of Indian troops from the country, preferring to strengthen ties with China. The Indian troops were involved in marine surveillance, search-and-rescue, and medical evacuation operations on the islands, and have now departed along with two helicopters and an aircraft. This decision occurred during a visit by Maldivian Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer to India, the first by a senior official since Muizzu's appointment in November. The foreign ministers of India and Maldives have since met to discuss their relationship, with the Indian side emphasizing their role as a key provider of development assistance in areas such as infrastructure projects, medical care, and health facilities. Tensions between India and Maldives have been rising since Muizzu's appointment, as he has sought to increase cooperation with China.

The newly elected president campaigned on a platform of "India out," claiming that his predecessor had given India too much power and compromised national sovereignty. Upon taking office, Muizzu visited China before India, stating that Maldives' small size should not make it a target for bullying. India and China are both vying for influence in Maldives due to its strategic location in the Indian Ocean. Since becoming president, Muizzu's government has made several deals with China to strengthen economic ties, while sidelining India in various projects. In March, Maldives signed a military assistance agreement with China and allowed a Chinese research vessel to dock in India's vicinity. Meanwhile, India is helping Maldives construct 4,000 homes and has offered a $100 million credit line for other infrastructure initiatives. The two countries have also signed deals for collaboration in cybersecurity, disaster management, and fishing zone forecasting. In 2013, Maldives joined China's "Belt and Road" initiative to expand trade and China's influence across Asia, Africa, and Europe. Last year, India began work on the Greater Male connectivity project, a 6.7-kilometer (4.1-mile) bridge connecting the capital to nearby islands consisting of Villingli, Gulhifalhu, and Thilafushi islands.

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Tagged Under :
Indian Military  Maldives  Mohamed Muizzu