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Maldives’ jurisdiction not a concern of ‘external parties’: President Muizzu

The pro-China Maldivian leader’s comments came days after the first batch of Indian military personnel left the island nation after Muizzu stepped up his anti-India rhetoric.

Screenshot 2024 03 17 095051MALE: Asserting that Maldives is not a small nation, President Mohamed Muizzu has said that the steps taken by his government to ensure the Indian Ocean island nation’s security on its own should not concern any “external parties”.

The pro-China Maldivian leader’s comments came days after the first batch of Indian military personnel operating a helicopter gifted by India left the island nation after Muizzu stepped up his anti-India rhetoric.

Muizzu had asked India to withdraw nearly 90 military personnel from the island nation soon after he assumed office in November last year.

India has agreed to replace the military personnel with civilians and continue the operations of two helicopters and a Dornier aircraft provided to the country for humanitarian and medical evacuation services.

Muizzu’s latest comments came while while speaking at a ceremony to launch the Maldives National Defence Force’s (MNDF) Air Corps and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), a press release by the President’s Office said on Friday.

Asserting that Maldives isn’t a small nation, Muizzu said the country is capable of monitoring its jurisdiction.

“Maldives is an independent and sovereign nation and that surveillance of the Maldives’ jurisdiction should not concern any external parties,” he said, without naming any country.

He “affirmed the importance of the Maldives navigating its course towards self-reliance and remaining an independent and sovereign nation in every aspect,” the press release said.

Muizzu said that Maldives’ independence and sovereignty “must be in the common interest of the entire populace, despite varying ideologies”.

He added that this would not impede the Maldives’ close relations with all countries.

Muizzu, seen as a pro-China leader, has affirmed that no Indian military personnel, not even those in civilian clothing, would be present inside his country after May 10.

He rode to power last year on an anti-India stance, and within hours of taking oath, demanded India to remove its personnel from the strategically located archipelago nation in the Indian Ocean.

Muizzu announced new initiatives to strengthen the Maldives’ military capabilities at the ceremony.

An initiative to mobilise resources to recondition neglected military resources and bring them up to a standard for military use and public service was launched, the press release said.

Meanwhile, Maldivian defence minister Ghassan Maumoon said that the launch of the Maldives National Defence Force Air Corps has shocked enemies and friends.

Ghassan said the role of defence forces and the strategies of war have changed in the modern world, adding that armies are now dependent on technology and tactics are used to reduce risk to lives.

“It is a sophisticated technology platform used in developed countries in the world. At the same time, it is a weapon with firepower that can take defensive manoeuvres to defend the country’s sovereignty while focusing on surveillance and search and rescue,” he was quoted as saying by Adhdhu.com, a news portal.

Ghassan said the tide of war has changed in the world resulting in decreasing attempts to invade or occupy another country.

However, he claimed that powerful countries now try to influence the sovereignty of other countries.

“By openly saying that we have the right to live in an independent and sovereign Maldives and by openly saying that Maldivians have the right to stand on their own feet, working with courage to quickly upgrade the ranks of the Maldivian military and the goal achieved through that has shocked enemies and friends,” he said.

The Chief of Defence Force Lt.Gen.

Abdul Raheem Abdul Latheef said that the military capabilities of the MNDF have greatly increased with the launch of the MNDF Air Corps and the use of drones.

“In the 4000 years of independent Maldives, today is a historic day as the Air Corps has been inaugurated for the first time to defend the country by air, conduct search operations and assist fishermen and vessels in maritime incidents,” he said.

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