Millennium Post (Kolkata)

No Indian troops to remain in Maldives, not even in civilian clothing: President Muizzu


Stepping up his antiIndia rhetoric, Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu has affirmed that no Indian military personnel, not even those in civilian clothing, would be present inside his country after May 10, a media report said on Tuesday.

Muizzu’s statement comes less than a week after an Indian civilian team reached the Maldives to take charge of one of the three aviation platforms in the island nation, well ahead of the March 10 deadline agreed by the two nations for the withdrawal of Indian military personnel.

Addressing the Baa atoll Eydhafushi residentia­l community during his tour across the atoll, the President stated that due to his government’s success in expelling Indian troops from the country, people who spread false rumours, are attempting to twist the situation, a news portal reported.

“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 portal quoted Muizzu, widely regarded as a pro-China leader, as saying.

“There will be no Indian troops in the country come May

10. Not in uniform and not in civilian clothing. The Indian military will not be residing in this country in any form of clothing. I state this with confidence,” he said, on a day when his country signed an agreement with China to receive free military aid.

Earlier last month, after a highlevel meeting in Delhi on February 2 between the two sides, the Maldivian

foreign ministry said India would replace its military personnel operating the three aviation platforms in the Maldives by May 10 and the first phase of the process would be completed by March 10.

In his maiden address to Parliament on February 5, he made similar remarks.

There are 88 military personnel manning the three Indian platforms that have been providing humanitari­an and medical evacuation services to the people of the Maldives for the last few years using two helicopter­s and a Dornier aircraft.

Muizzu rode to power last year on an anti-India stance and within hours of taking oath demanded India to remove its personnel from the strategica­lly located archipelag­o in the Indian Ocean. further reported that while the first troops to depart the country are the Indian military personnel operating

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Mohamed Muizzu

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