Opposition protests against Muizzu as he talks about withdrawal of Indian troops

Opposition protests against Muizzu as he talks about withdrawal of Indian troops

NEW DELHI: During his first presidential address in his parliament, Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu said that Indian troop withdrawal would begin from March 10.

President Muizzu said he was guided by his ‘pro-Maldives’ principle in safeguarding his nation’s sovereignty while placing the primary commitment in governance on the welfare of the people and the nation at the forefront.

“Expulsion of Indian troops was one of the main reasons Maldivian people elected the present government,’’ President Muizzu said in his first presidential address that was boycotted by opposition parties, which includes the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and The Democrats Party.

President Muizzu also said that diplomatic talks were underway for the withdrawal of Indian troops and as per the last round held in Delhi, it was agreed that military personnel on one of the three aviation platforms would be withdrawn before March 10, while the military personnel on the remaining two platforms would be withdrawn before May 10.

Meanwhile, in the backdrop of allegations that Indian coast guards entered Maldivian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and got into Maldivian boats present there, President Muizzu said their military’s capabilities will be fortified to pave the way for the round-the-clock surveillance capabilities over the nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Meanwhile, the opposition is not impressed with the speech. “It did not instill a sense of hope among citizens. The use of ultra-nationalistic rhetoric in the speech suggests a desire to consolidate political power,’’ former Maldivian Ambassador to the UAE, Mohamed Faisal told this newspaper.

The MDP did not take part in the opening ceremony of parliament due to many reasons. One of them is shifting the opening day of parliament from a holiday to a working day -- a move perceived as a deliberate attempt to diminish the sanctity of parliamentary proceedings, a member of MDP told this newspaper.

The MDP has also alleged that a peaceful protest taking place outside parliament which included senior government officials and citizens saw stones and bottles being hurled at them, which prevented them from conducting a peaceful protest, Mohamed Faisal added.

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The New Indian Express