Amidst the ongoing tension between India and Maldives, Mohammad Muizzu, the President of the latter country, has given an ultimatum to India to withdraw its troops from his country by March 15.

Muizzu, who recently returned from a visit to China, formally asked India to end its army presence in his territory, Abdallah Nazim Ibrahim, the public policy secretary to the president’s office, said at a press briefing.

According to the latest government figures, there are 88 Indian military personnel in the Maldives. “Indian Military personnel cannot stay in the Maldives. This is the policy of the President and that of his administration,” he said.


The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has not yet responded to the news.

Relations between India and Maldives have been strained since the formation of the government of the new President in the island nation.

Three months ago, Mueez raised the slogan “India out” in the election and demanded their withdrawal from Maldives.

In a departure from tradition, Muizzu chose Turkey and China instead of India for his first visit, stating that his government reiterated its commitment to withdraw the Indian army from the strategically important region of the country.

Indian troops were deployed at the request of the then government to protect against the threat of insurgency and the Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers. The Indian troops have been stationed in the Maldives since 1988, for non-combat duties including flying, training, and surveillance.

While foreign policy experts conclude that this change of policy is because of his tilt towards China, the President has declared, “We aren’t in anyone’s backyard. We are an independent and sovereign state”. Without naming any country, he said, “We may be small, but that doesn’t give you the license to bully us.”

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