New Maldivian President To Ensure Freedom From Foreign Military Presence – Analysis


Proposes reciprocal respect for sovereignty   

In a thinly veiled reference to the Indian military presence in his country, the new President of the Maldives, Dr Mohamed Muizzu, on Friday made a firm commitment to ensure that the Maldives remained free of any foreign military presence.

Speaking after taking his oaths as the eighth President of Maldives in Male, Dr.Muizzu said that the pledge is part of his commitment to preserve the “independence and sovereignty” of his country.   

Dr. Muizzu was alluding to the controversial presence of an unknown number of Indian military personnel and a helicopter on the island. 

The Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), to which he belongs, has been opposing foreign military presence in the country on the grounds that it abridges Maldivian sovereignty. 

In his election campaign, Dr.Muizzu had promised to send foreign troops back. 

Under former President Abdulla Yameen, the PPM had carried out an “India Out” campaign that was opposed by the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) government led by President Ibrahim Solih.   

In his inaugural speech, President Muizzu expressed his commitment to prioritising the interests of the citizens of the Maldives, “ensuring that no external nation’s interests will supersede those of the Maldives and its people.” 

He elaborated on his vision for the Maldives’ foreign policy, emphasising the preservation of amicable relations with neighbouring and distant countries. 

Dr Muizzu highlighted that the Maldives would reciprocate respect for its independence and sovereignty.

Instilling Patriotism  

He announced the initiation of a national project to rekindle patriotism to preserve and pass on our national identity to future generations. He emphasised that this endeavour to rejuvenate a  sense of nationhood will nourish the emotional, spiritual, and meaningful connections that bind the Maldivian people together.

The President underscored that the foundation of a free society or nation is built upon the principles and norms that its people uphold and believe in. In this regard, he highlighted the crucial role of the Maldivian society in fostering goodness and rectifying wrongs, thereby highlighting the community’s collective responsibility.

Noting the pivotal role of education in society, Dr Muizzu affirmed that his administration is committed to utilising the expertise of educated individuals across all fields in implementing policies. He highlighted that scholarly research would be the foundation for formulating national development policies.

Religiosity and Women’s Empowerment

The President emphasised his commitment to nurturing a sense of religious devotion in people, particularly the youth.

Dr Muizzu characterised women as the nation’s driving force and the bedrock of the country’s resilience. He affirmed his administration’s commitment to safeguarding women’s rights and fostering empowerment among women and youth. 

He further emphasised the importance of political empowerment and modern technology to foster connections with the global community. He added that he believed it would enable them to conduct business and bring their innovative ideas and products to the forefront.

Highlighting the indispensable role of workers in nation-building, Dr. Muizzu asserted that his administration would accord the highest priority to various forms of labour, encompassing sectors such as fishing, farming, construction, and carpentry. 

In this context, the President emphasised that his administration is committed to making modern knowledge and technology accessible and beneficial to the Maldives. He expressed confidence that the country will be able to adopt the latest technological tools from around the world, thereby enhancing income levels and skill sets.

The President affirmed that under his administration, society will continue to respect the faithful and dedicated leaders who have contributed significantly to the nation’s progress.

The President commits to ensuring the Maldives remains free from foreign military presence and upholds independence and sovereignty

President Dr Muizzu’s acceptance of the oath of office was followed by a 21-gun salute and the National Anthem.

H.E. Hussain Mohamed Latheef was sworn into office of Vice President at the ceremony, with the oath administered by the Chief Justice. 

The Presidential Inauguration ceremony was attended by former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, former President Mohamed Nasheed, and former President Dr. Mohamed Waheed.

Also in attendance were high-level foreign delegates and several invitees, including the President of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Indian Minister of Earth Sciences, Kiren Rijiju, and China’s Central Counçil member Madame Shen Yiqin.

P. K. Balachandran

P. K. Balachandran is a senior Indian journalist working in Sri Lanka for local and international media and has been writing on South Asian issues for the past 21 years.

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