India agrees to pull out soldiers from Maldives, says Muizzu

On Sunday, President Mohamed Muizzu of the Maldives declared that the Indian government has agreed to withdraw its troops from the island nation. Subsequently, sources in New Delhi disclosed that this matter was briefly addressed during a meeting in Dubai between Muizzu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The discussions revolved around the ongoing operation of Indian helicopters and aircraft, with an enduring commitment to address specific details through a jointly established core group.

Speaking to reporters in Male, Muizzu stated, \”In the discussions we had, the Indian government has agreed to remove Indian soldiers.\” Furthermore, an accord was reached to institute a high-level committee to tackle issues related to development projects. Muizzu made these statements following engagements on the sidelines of the COP28 climate summit.

The Maldives presently relies on two helicopters and an aircraft provided by India for emergency medical evacuations and disaster relief operations, operated by 77 Indian military personnel. President Muizzu, elected in September, campaigned on altering the Maldives\’s \”India first\” policy and committed to diminishing the presence of these 77 personnel.

While there was no official response from the Ministry of External Affairs in India, a source underscored the significance of the Indian platforms in humanitarian and disaster relief activities. The source acknowledged ongoing discussions on their operational status, with both sides recognizing the importance of these platforms in the bilateral development partnership.

The decision to establish a core group was taken subsequent to the meeting between Modi and Muizzu in Dubai. A day after assuming the presidency, Muizzu formally requested the withdrawal of Indian military personnel from the Maldives.

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