Will begin efforts to remove Indian troops from Day 1: Maldives President-elect Mohamed Muizzu
Maldives president-elect Mohamed Muizzu, seen as pro-China, says to remove Indian military personnel stationed in the country, citing voter wishes.
Mohamed Muizzu, the president-elect of the Maldives, has said he will stick to his campaign promise to remove Indian military personnel stationed in the archipelago state, promising he would initiate the process, AP reported.
“The people have told us that they don't want foreign military here,” he said.
He said that foreign soldiers would not be permitted to stay in the Maldives against the people's wishes and vowed to initiate these efforts immediately upon taking office, the news website SunOnline International reported.
Muizzu, seen as pro-Chinese, won the presidential election in the archipelago state, defeating incumbent President Ibrahim Solih in a second-round runoff. The election was also seen as a determining factor in deciding which country would exert greater influence over the strategically vital archipelago state in the Indian Ocean. Muiz's campaign focused mainly on what he alleged was a threat to the Maldives' sovereignty posed by the Indian military stationed on an island.
Outgoing President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, elected in 2018, faced allegations from Muizzu that he had allowed unchecked Indian presence in the Maldives.
Solih, however, insisted that the Indian military's presence in the Maldives was solely for the purpose of constructing a dockyard under an agreement between the two governments.
Both India and China congratulated Muizzu on his victory.
China's foreign ministry said the country "respects the choice of the Maldivian people and congratulates President-elect Mohamed Muizzu".
"China is willing to work with the Maldives to consolidate the traditional friendship, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation and push for continuous new progress," the ministry said in a statement to AFP.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also congratulated Muizzu.
“India remains committed to strengthening the time-tested India-Maldives bilateral relationship and enhancing our overall cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region,” he wrote on X.