PO: 77 Indian military personnel stationed in Maldives; over 100 agreements

MNDF stages a medical evacuation. (File Photo/MNDF)

The President’s Office said on Sunday that there are 77 Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives, and over 100 agreements signed between India and the previous Maldivian administration.

In a press conference on Sunday evening, PO’s Undersecretary for Public Policy, Mohamed Firuzul Abdul Khaleel said the new administration has established there are 77 Indian military personnel in Maldives; 24 to manage the first helicopter, 25 to manage the Dornier aircraft, 26 to manage the second helicopter, and two more for maintenance and engineering.

He said that President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu has initiated efforts to expel all 77 from the Maldives.

In a meeting with Indian Union Minister of Earth Sciences Kiren Rijiju on Friday, Muizzu officially requested the Indian government to have their military personnel removed from the Maldives.

Muizzu had built his presidential campaign on the promise of expelling Indian military personnel from the Maldives. He also said he would review the agreements between Maldives and India, and disclose its contents where possible.

On Sunday, Firuzul said the former administration signed over 100 agreements with India, and that the new administration is reviewing them.

The agreements in question include the controversial Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF) agreement, and other defense agreements.

The MDP administration had refused to disclose the exact number of Indian military personnel stationed in Maldives, citing that it posed a threat to national security.

Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s administration had asked India to withdraw its military personnel who are in Maldives to maintain the helicopters donated by India, but they remained stationed in Maldives.

Back when PPM-PNC had been in the opposition, they had repeatedly expressed concern over the issue, and the close ties the MDP administration maintained with India, which they said was skewed too much in India’s favor.