Mohamed Muizzu, the President-elect of the Maldives, has affirmed his commitment to fulfill his campaign promise of removing Indian military personnel stationed in the archipelago state, reported AP.
Muizzu stated, "the people have told us that they don't want foreign military here."
He emphasised that foreign soldiers would not be allowed to remain in the Maldives against the will of its citizens and pledged to initiate this process promptly upon assuming office, reported news website SunOnline International.
Muizzu, widely perceived as pro-Chinese leader, secured victory in the presidential election in the archipelago state, defeating incumbent President Ibrahim Solih in a second-round runoff.
The election carried significant implications for determining which country would exert greater influence over the strategically vital archipelago state in the Indian Ocean.
Muizzu's campaign primarily focused on what he portrayed as a threat to the Maldives' sovereignty posed by the presence of the Indian military on one of its islands.
Outgoing President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who was elected in 2018, faced allegations from Muizzu that he had permitted unchecked Indian presence in the Maldives.
Solih, however, asserted that the Indian military's presence in the Maldives was solely for the purpose of constructing a dockyard under an agreement between the two governments.
Both India and China extended their congratulations to Muizzu upon his victory.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Muizzu on social media platform X and affirmed India's commitment to enhancing its bilateral relationship with the Maldives and cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region.
PM Modi said, "India remains committed to strengthening the time-tested India-Maldives bilateral relationship and enhancing our overall cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region."
China's Foreign Ministry also congratulated President-elect stating, "China respects the choice of the Maldivian people and congratulates President-elect Mohamed Muizzu."
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