Sunday 25 February 2024

Maldives Ex-Minister Accuses President Mohamed Muizzuof Lying About Indian Troops, Raises Concerns About Transparency

Maldives Ex-Minister Accuses President Mohamed Muizzuof Lying About Indian Troops, Raises Concerns About Transparency

New Delhi, India - February 26, 2024: In a scathing online critique, former Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid accused President Mohamed Muizzu of fabricating claims about a large Indian military presence in the Maldives. Shahid, recently elected President of the Maldivian Democratic Party, took to Twitter to denounce Muizzu's statements, calling them "just another in a string of lies."

Shahid emphasized the absence of armed foreign troops on Maldivian soil, stating, "There are no armed foreign soldiers stationed in the country." He further criticized the current administration's lack of transparency, citing their inability "to provide specific numbers" regarding military personnel as evidence of deception. "Transparency matters," he stressed, "and the truth must prevail."

President Muizzu, who assumed office 100 days ago, has made the removal of Indian troops a central point of his political agenda. Currently, approximately 70 Indian military personnel are stationed in the Maldives, alongside Dornier 228 maritime patrol aircraft and HAL Dhruv helicopters. Upon taking office, Muizzu officially requested the Indian government withdraw these personnel.

In December 2023, Muizzu declared an agreement had been reached with India to withdraw its military. He elaborated on planned phases of withdrawal, stating personnel would be removed from one of the three aviation platforms by March 10th, 2024, with the remaining two platforms cleared by May 10th, 2024. However, earlier this month, India's Ministry of External Affairs indicated a different plan, stating they would replace military personnel with civilian technicians on the aviation platforms.

Shahid's accusations highlight the growing tension surrounding the future of Indian-Maldivian military cooperation. The Maldivian Democratic Party, led by Shahid, strongly opposes the withdrawal of Indian troops, viewing them as crucial for regional security and defense collaboration.

This situation raises concerns about transparency and communication between the two nations. It remains to be seen how this dispute will be resolved and what impact it will have on the long-standing relationship between India and the Maldives.

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