India fully withdraws soldiers from Maldives: Presidential Spokesperson

India has withdrawn all its soldiers from the Maldives, the government here has said, ahead of the May 10 deadline set by President Mohamed Muizzu for the complete withdrawal of Indian military personnel from his country.
Heena Waleed, Maldives President's Office Chief Spokesperson
Heena Waleed, Maldives President's Office Chief Spokesperson

Male | India has withdrawn all its soldiers from the Maldives, the government here has said, ahead of the May 10 deadline set by President Mohamed Muizzu for the complete withdrawal of Indian military personnel from his country.

President Muizzu, widely seen as a pro-China leader, had set May 10 as the deadline for the withdrawal of the Indian military personnel from his country. Repatriation of some 90 Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives was a key pledge of Muizzu during his presidential campaign last year.

The last batch of Indian soldiers stationed in the Maldives have been repatriated, confirmed Heena Waleed, President's Office Chief Spokesperson told Sun.mv news portal, without giving the number of Indian soldiers.

She added details about the number of the soldiers stationed would be disclosed later.

The Indian military personnel were stationed in the Maldives to operate and maintain two helicopters and Dornier aircraft India gifted earlier.

Earlier, the Maldives government announced that 51 of these soldiers were repatriated to India on Monday.

The government earlier announced the presence of 89 Indian soldiers in the Maldives, citing official documents.

India and the Maldives had agreed to withdraw the remaining Indian troops before May 10.

At a media briefing in New Delhi on Thursday, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said the first and the second batches of the Indian personnel returned to India and "now deputation of competent Indian technical personnel has taken place" to operate the three Indian aviation platforms.

The development came as Maldivian Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer visited India. He met External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday.

They had "extensive discussions" on bilateral ties and regional security issues The relations between the two countries came under severe strain after Muizzu insisted on the withdrawal of Indian military personnel operating three military platforms in the island nation.

The Maldives is India's key maritime neighbour in the Indian Ocean Region and occupies a special place in its initiatives like ‘SAGAR' (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and the ‘Neighbourhood First Policy' of the Modi government.

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