Maldives to Maintain Good Relations with India, China: President-Elect
© AFP 2023 MOHAMED AFRAHMaldives' President-elect of the Maldives' Mohamed Muizzu of the People's National Congress (PNC) party attends a gathering with supporters following the country's presidential election, in Male on October 2, 2023.
© AFP 2023 MOHAMED AFRAH
The Maldives’ president-elect has said Indian troops would be removed as promised, but no other country would arrive in their place, as his country is not willing to get involved in any political rivalry.
The president-elect of the Maldives, Mohamed Muizzu, has said his country is too small to be entangled in geopolitical rivalry, reports said.
"(Maldives is going to) work together with all the countries, including India and China," he was quoted as saying.
“Maldives is too small to be entangled in geopolitical rivalry. I am not very much interested to engage the Maldivian foreign policy in this," he told media in a recent interview.
Muizzu, who will be sworn in as Maldives President on 17 November, said, “We are going to work together with all the countries, India, China and all other countries as well.”
Last month, Muizzu said that Maldives had started negotiations with India to remove its military presence. In fact, removing Indian troops was a key campaign pledge by Muizzu.
Meanwhile, Indian Union Minister Kiren Rijiju, according to reports, will represent India at the oath-taking ceremony of Muizzu. The Maldives had invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the ceremony.
Around 70 Indian military personnel are based in Maldives to maintain New Delhi-sponsored radar stations and surveillance aircraft. Indian warships help patrol the country's exclusive economic zone.