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India has Agreed to Withdraw its Troops From Maldives: Maldivian President

India has agreed to withdraw its soldiers from Maldives, the archipelagic nation’s president said Sunday.

“The Indian government has agreed to withdraw its military presence from the Maldivian islands,” said Mohamed Muizzu after returning from the United Arab Emirates, where he attended the UN’s COP28 climate conference in Dubai.

“The commitment from the Indian side has been consistent throughout our dialogue. We are now progressing into the technical aspects of the withdrawal process,” Muizzu told reporters in the capital, Male.

Muizzu met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of COP28.

The withdrawal of 77 Indian soldiers from the country was one of the main election campaign manifestos of the Maldives Progressive Party, which Muizzu led to victory in October elections.

India has gifted Dornier reconnaissance aircraft and two helicopters to Maldives which are operated by Indian personnel.

Muizzu said India’s decision to withdraw its forces “is a testament to respecting the democratic will of the Maldivian people, who have long voiced their desire for the removal of foreign military personnel,” The Maldives Journal news website reported.

Male and New Delhi have decided to establish a high-level bilateral committee to address challenges in executing various projects funded by India in Maldives, the president said.

“The prime minister of India has agreed to this collaborative approach. The committee’s focus will be on finding swift resolutions to the issues we face, particularly in expediting critical projects like the bridge project,” Muizzu added.

Indian funds are being used to build the Thilamale bridge project, which will connect Male with the Maldivian islands of Villingili, Gulhi and Thilafushi.

Source : aa