Second batch of Indian military personnel have left Maldives: President Muizzu | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Second batch of Indian military personnel have left Maldives: President Muizzu

Apr 14, 2024 03:23 PM IST

Muizzu, a pro-China leader, also said that foreign ambassadors in Male would not wield any authority over him.

The second batch of Indian military personnel manning a helicopter gifted by India to the Maldives has left the island nation, its president Mohamed Muizzu said on Saturday. 

Maldives' President Mohamed Muizzu speaks during the World Government Summit in Dubai on February 13, 2024.(AFP)
Maldives' President Mohamed Muizzu speaks during the World Government Summit in Dubai on February 13, 2024.(AFP)

 Muizzu, a pro-China leader, announced the withdrawal of the second Indian military contingent from the Maldives during a campaign event for the ruling People's National Congress party candidates ahead of the parliamentary elections scheduled for April 21.

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"The first team has already gone. Now, on April 9, the soldiers on the second platform have also been withdrawn," Muizzu said, according to PTI, which cited the local media.

In his address, Muizzu also said that foreign ambassadors in Male would not wield any authority over him and emphasised that ultimate power rests with the citizens.

Also Read | Maldives to hold road shows in India to woo tourists back

Earlier this month, Muizzu had said that the second batch of Indian military personnel responsible for operating the aviation platform in the Maldives will be withdrawn within April and the process of drawing down all such personnel will be completed by May 10.

His remarks came weeks after India had replaced military personnel operating the helicopter with technical personnel in March. He had earlier given an ultimatum for withdrawing some 80 Indian military personnel responsible for operating and maintaining two helicopters and an aircraft.

The Indian military personnel were stationed in the Maldives to operate two Advanced Light Helicopters and a Dornier aircraft provided by India that are mainly used for humanitarian assistance operations and medical evacuations.

Also Read | ‘Stop being stubborn’: Maldives ex-president tells Mohamed Muizzu amid strained India ties

However, during Saturday's remarks, the Maldivian President did not provide details of the number of the second batch of Indian military personnel who have left the Maldives. He also did not clarify whether the soldiers had been replaced by trained Indian civilians, according to PTI.

The Maldives Defence Ministry nor India have commented on the latest withdrawal yet.

Muizzu has sought to move the Maldives away from dependence on India in crucial sectors such as food security and defence following his victory in last year’s presidential election.

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