NEW DELHI/MALE: According to a statement made by the Maldivian Foreign Ministry on Saturday, February 3, India will withdraw its troops from the Maldives by May. The decision to pull out has caused tensions between the two nations.
According to officials from both nations, about 80 soldiers stationed in the Indian Ocean islands will be replaced by civilians.
Traditionally close to its neighbor India, the Maldives have been courted by China and India as global powers vie for influence in the Indo-Pacific area.
Since Mohamed Muizzu was elected president of the Maldives last year and promised to end the nation’s “India First” policy, New Delhi’s relations with Male have become strained.
He has demanded that the soldiers stationed to support the military hardware that New Delhi has provided to the Maldives be removed by March 15 in order to enable humanitarian efforts in the area.
According to the Maldives, a high-level discussion in the Indian capital resulted in an agreement on a number of matters pertaining to bilateral relations. The first batch of Indian forces would depart by March 10 and the remaining troops by May 10.