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Second Group of Indian Military Personnel Withdrawn from Maldives: President Muizzu

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The second group of Indian military personnel operating a helicopter left the Maldives on April 9, under a bilateral agreement with India, announced Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu.

Muizzu made this announcement on Friday during a campaign event for the ruling party’s parliamentary election candidates. “The first team has already gone. Now, on April 9, the soldiers on the second platform have also been withdrawn,” he said.

The agreement between Maldives and India is to replace the Indian military personnel stationed in Maldives to oversee the operations of the military aircraft the country has received from India, with trained Indian civilians.

Muizzu, who is seen as pro-China, added that the remaining Indian soldiers will also leave Maldives before May 10, fulfilling his pledge to remove all foreign military from the island nation.

“There is only one platform left. As the two countries have already signed, they [the remaining Indian military personnel] will also be recalled ahead of May 10. They will leave,” Muizzu said.

Neither the Maldives Defense Ministry nor India have commented on this latest withdrawal of Indian military personnel.

According to the Maldives government, 88 Indian soldiers were stationed in the Maldives to operate helicopters and a Dornier aircraft, as well as provide medical services.

The first group of 26 Indian soldiers left the Maldives on March 11 and were replaced by 26 Indian civilians.

Relations between Maldives and India have deteriorated since Muizzu came to power in November last year, as he has moved closer to China, signing defence and infrastructure deals.

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