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Maldives new president asks India to withdraw

MALE — Maldives new President Mohamed Muizzu, who campaigned on altering the tiny Indian Ocean archipelago’s “India first” policy, has requested India withdraw its military from the country.

Muizzu won the presidential election in September, ousting Ibrahim Solih in a runoff after promising to remove a small Indian military presence of some 75 personnel.

India and China have been vying for influence in the region, with the coalition backing Muizzu considered to be leaning more toward China.

“The Maldivian people had given him (Muizzu) a strong mandate to make the request to India and expressed the hope that India will honour the democratic will of the people of the Maldives,” the president’s office said in a statement on Saturday.

India’s defence ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.





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