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Not Even In Civilian Clothes: President Mohamed Muizzu Sets May 10 Deadline For Indian Troops To Leave Maldives

Male: Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu has said that no Indian military personnel will remain in the country after May 10, be it in uniform or civilian clothing, Maldives-based The Edition reported. While addressing the residential community of Baa Atoll Eydhafushi, he said that the Indian military will not reside in the Maldives in any form of clothing after May 10. Muizzu said that people who spread false rumours are trying to twist the situation.

Muizzu said, “That these people [Indian military] are not departing, that they are returning after changing their uniforms into civilian clothing. We must not indulge such thoughts that instil doubts in our hearts and spread lies,” The Edition reported.

“There will be no Indian troops in the country come May 10. Not in uniform and not in civilian clothing. Indian military will not be residing in this country in any form of clothing. I state this with confidence,” he added.

Muizzu made the statement after the Opposition started criticising the government asserting that the Indian personnel sent to Maldives as civilians are in reality military officials out of uniform and that the government has no way to discover otherwise, according to The Edition report.

Reacting to the Opposition’s criticism, Mohamed Muizzu said that Indian military personnel have started leaving the Maldives after discussions held between the two nations.

His statement comes as the two nations have agreed to remove the Indian military presence in Maldives by May 10. The first group of Indian troops who have departed from Maldives are the Indian military personnel operating helicopters in Addu City.

The Indian military personnel present in Haa Dhaalu Atoll Hanimaadhoo and Laamu Atoll Kahdhoo are also expected to depart from Maldives ahead of May 10, The Edition reported.

Notably, Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu is considered close to China and he even ran the electoral campaign on the line of ‘India Out’. Since coming to power, he has taken several steps that have been unconventional from the point of view of India-Maldives ties.

The removal of Indian troops from Maldives was the main election campaign of Muizzu’s party and he put up a formal request with New Delhi regarding the same, just on the second day after assuming office.

The first batch of Indian technical personnel has arrived in Maldives to replace the existing personnel in Maldives. Addressing a weekly press briefing in Delhi on February 29, Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said, “We have had the first batch of technical personnel reach the Maldives, Male, to replace the existing personnel.”

“The first team of technical personnel to operate the advanced light helicopter at Gan has reached Maldives. It will replace the existing personnel that were, until now, operating this platform…,” said Jaiswal.

Notably, MEA earlier stated in its statement that both India and Maldives have agreed on a set of mutually workable solutions to enable the continued operation of Indian aviation platforms that provide humanitarian and medvac services to the people of Maldives.

On February 26, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar affirmed his belief that the row with the Maldives will be resolved through diplomacy. He also said that sometimes misunderstandings take place between two nations.

The EAM was speaking at the event ‘The Rise of the Global South’ at TV9 Bharatvarsh Conclave on Monday. Responding to the Maldives row, Jaishankar said, “Humanity is humanity. Diplomacy is diplomacy, and politics is politics. The whole world doesn’t always run with obligation…so if we have encountered such a situation, the solution will come through diplomacy only.” “We have to make people understand, sometimes people don’t even have complete knowledge of things, sometimes people get misguided on what others say,” he added.

Jaishankar further described the primary functions performed by the Indian military personnel and aviation platforms in Maldives.

“There are two Indian helicopters and one plane in the Maldives. Mostly, it is used for medvac (medical evacuation) purposes. The people of the Maldives are the beneficiaries of it. But, these are military planes, so who will run them? Obviously, military personnel,” Jaishankar said.

He said that the Indian side is holding multiple rounds of discussion with the Maldivian side to resolve whatever differences they have.

“They had some objection, so we said, ‘Come on, let’s discuss and reach a solution. So, even if our intention is good, policy is clear, we reach such a situation, and we have to find a solution. I firmly believe that we will be able to resolve this matter as well,” the EAM added.

Notably, India and Maldives have held two High-Level Core Group meetings. During the meeting, both sides agreed on a set of mutually workable solutions to enable the continued operation of Indian aviation platforms that provide humanitarian and medvac services to the people of Maldives, according to MEA. 

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