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India to Establish Military Base Near Maldives


Sun 03 Mar 2024 | 10:47 PM
Israa Farhan

The Indian Navy has announced its plan to bolster its presence near the Maldives by inaugurating a strategic military base on islands deemed of strategic significance.

This move comes shortly before the Maldives begins to expel Indian forces from its territory.

Tensions have been rising between the two nations following the electoral victory of Mohamed Muizzu, a pro-China figure, in the Maldivian presidential elections last year. Muizzu has requested India to withdraw its troops from the Maldives.

China's growing influence in the archipelago, which overlooks vital maritime routes between the East and the West, has raised concerns in India.

In response, the Indian Navy stated that the new base would enhance "operational surveillance" in the region.

Muizzu has asked India to repatriate its 89 military personnel stationed in the Maldives to conduct aerial reconnaissance missions.

The first group is expected to leave by March 10, with the entire withdrawal process to be completed within two months.

According to the Indian Navy, the new base set to be launched on March 6 on the Lakshadweep Islands, located about 130 km north of the Maldives, will convert a small detachment into an "independent naval unit".

The base will be established on Minicoy Island, the closest point to the archipelago.

The Indian Navy emphasized that the base would support efforts against piracy and drug trafficking, part of a policy to enhance "security infrastructure" on strategically important islands.