The Maldives government, led by President Mohamed Muizzu, has requested the withdrawal of 77 Indian military personnel stationed in the country. The new administration, currently reviewing over 100 agreements with India, expressed the need for the removal of military personnel during a meeting with Union Minister Kiren Rijiju. The personnel in question include 24 for the first helicopter, 25 for the Dornier aircraft, 26 for the second helicopter, and two for maintenance and engineering.
President Muizzu, who won the September presidential election, has initiated efforts to expel all 77 Indian military personnel from the Maldives. The move follows his campaign promise to review agreements with India and remove foreign military presence. The Maldives, a significant beneficiary of India's Neighbourhood First policy, has seen bilateral ties with India strengthening under the previous government.
The new administration, led by President Muizzu, is scrutinizing over 100 agreements, including the Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF) agreement and other defense accords. The former administration, headed by ex-President Solih, had signed these agreements. President Muizzu has formally requested the Government of India to withdraw its military personnel, emphasizing the democratic will of the Maldivian people. The situation raises questions about the future of bilateral relations and the impact on India's strategic vision in the Indian Ocean Region.