What are the implications of Maldives’ March 15 deadline to India for withdrawing troops? | In Focus podcast 

In this episode, Meera Srinivasan joins us to discuss President Muizzu’s visit to China, the controversy surrounding PM Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep, and Maldives’ ultimatum on troop withdrawal.

Updated - January 17, 2024 05:40 pm IST

Published - January 17, 2024 03:53 pm IST

Relations between India and Maldives seem to have hit a rough patch. First came some controversial remarks from Maldivian politicians on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lakshadweep visit, prompting a ‘boycott Maldives’ campaign on Indian social media. Then came a joint press communiqué with China, which committed to “elevating strategic cooperation” between Maldives and China. This was followed by remarks from Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, on his return from China, that although Maldives was a small country, it “won’t be bullied”, that the “Indian Ocean does not belong to any one country”, and that Maldives “is not in anyone’s backyard”.

Also read: View From India | India’s Maldives challenge

But for India, the most troubling development is Maldives setting a March 15 deadline – effectively an ultimatum -- to withdraw all its troops from the island nation. What exactly does all this mean for India? Is it purely an effect of Maldives’ domestic politics, with general elections due in March? Or should New Delhi be concerned about a more enduring shift in Maldivian foreign policy?

Guest: Meera Srinivasan, The Hindu’s Colombo correspondent

Host: G. Sampath, Social Affairs Editor, The Hindu

Edited by Jude Francis Weston

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