Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu has formally requested India to withdraw its military personnel from the country by March 15, according to Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim, the public policy secretary at the President’s Office. The request comes after Muizzu’s state visit to China and amid a diplomatic row sparked by derogatory comments against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made by three deputy ministers of the Muizzu government. A high-level core group, including Indian High Commissioner Munu Mahawar, has been formed to negotiate the troop withdrawal.
Muizzu, seen as a pro-China leader, emphasized the need for Maldives to be independent and sovereign during his visit to China, expressing plans to reduce dependency on India. The Maldives is reviewing over 100 bilateral agreements with India, signaling a shift in diplomatic relations.