Home NEWSCITY TALKS Muizzu Announces Withdrawal of Indian Troops from Maldives

Muizzu Announces Withdrawal of Indian Troops from Maldives

by Web Desk
Muizzu Announces Withdrawal of Indian Troops from Maldives

Main Opposition Parties Of Maldives Boycott Presidential Address

Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu has been drawing considerable criticism for his anti-India stance. He addressed the country’s parliament today in the first session of 2024. According to Maldivian news sources, the two main opposition parties, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and The Democrats, decided to boycott the presidential address.

While MDP has not given any official reason on why they chose to skip the presidential address, The Democrats have stated that this is owing to the re-appointment of three ministers rejected by parliament.

As per the Constitution of The Maldives, the President is required to address the parliament during the first session every year, and outline the state of the nation as well as give recommendations for tackling situations.

Currently, President Muizzu faces criticism for its anti-India stance and his presidential campaign ahead of being elected had focused on reducing Indian influence in affairs of the Maldives. Recently, he has visited China and met President Xi Jinping.

A major point of contention between India and the Maldives, that has traditionally been a long-time ally, has been the presence of 80-odd Indian soldiers in the island nation.

As per news sources, the Maldives foreign ministry has said India will remove its troops by May. The first set of Indian troops will leave by March 10 and the rest by May 10, it said, citing an agreement reached at a meeting in New Delhi.

The External Affairs Ministry has said the two countries “agreed on a set of mutually workable solutions to enable continued operation of Indian aviation platforms” that provide humanitarian services to the Maldives.

President Muizzu’s Anti-India Stance Drawing Criticism In His Own Country

President Muizzu’s anti-India stance has drawn criticism on its own shores. The MDP and The Democrats recently issued a joint statement, describing the shift in the island nation’s foreign policy as “extremely detrimental” to the country’s welfare.

The statement declared that “alienating any development partner, and especially the country’s most long-standing ally, will be extremely detrimental to the long-term development of the country”. It also stressed that “stability and security in the Indian Ocean is vital to the stability and security of the Maldives”.

Another party urged President Muizzu to apologise to India. Gasuim Ibrahim, leader of the Jumhoori Party, has said the Maldives President must formally apologise to India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and seek “diplomatic reconciliation” to mend ties. His remarks referred to President Muizzu’s statement soon after he returned from China. “We may be small, but this doesn’t give them the licence to bully us,” Muizzu had said, without naming any country. The remark was seen as a swipe at India.

Questioned about the strained ties between the two nations, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has said neighbours need each other. “History and geography are very powerful forces. There is no escape from that,” he said.

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