Male, Nov 18 (PTI) Less than 24 hours after taking oath as the President of Maldives, Mohammed Muizzu on Saturday made a formal request to the Indian government to “withdraw” Indian troops from his country.
According to a release from the Maldives President’s Office, Muizzoo said the people of Maldives have given him a “strong mandate” to make this request to New Delhi.
The release said that the President of Maldives made this request to India during the meeting between Union Minister Kiren Rijiju and Muizzu.
The exact number of Indian troops deployed in Maldives is not known.
Underscoring India’s ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’, Union Minister Rijiju on Friday represented the country at the swearing-in ceremony of Mohammed Muizzu as the new President of Maldives.
Immediately after being sworn in on Friday, Muizzu stressed that he was committed to ensuring that his country remains free from any “foreign military presence” to maintain its independence and sovereignty.
However, he did not take the name of any country in his address.
“At the meeting, President Muizzu formally requested the Government of India to withdraw its military personnel from Maldives,” the President’s Office said here.
“The President said that the people of the Maldives had given him a strong mandate to make this request to India in the presidential elections held in September and expressed hope that India would respect the democratic will of the people of the Maldives,” it said.
During the meeting with Rijiju, Muizzu also acknowledged the important role of the two helicopters in providing assistance during emergency medical situations.
India was the first country to assist Maldives during the 2004 tsunami as well as the water crisis here in December 2014.
According to the statement, Muizzu and Rijiju also reviewed the progress of implementation of various projects in Maldives in collaboration with India.
Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s special envoy Shen Yiqin paid a courtesy call on President Muizzu. During this, Shen stressed the importance of strengthening China-Maldives friendship.
Shen congratulated the President on his swearing-in and expressed confidence that relations between the two countries will further strengthen during his tenure.
Language Shafiq Netrapal