Major General Abdul Raheem Abdul Latheef, known for his prior stance defending the Indian army issue, has been appointed Chief of Defense forces, with the government expressing confidence in his ability to fulfill the current administration's objectives.
President Mohamed Muizzu, inaugurated last Friday, selected Abdul Raheem, previously Vice Chief of Defense forces in the preceding government. However, the decision to appoint someone from the prior administration who had defended it in regard to the Indian Army issue has faced criticism.
Several officers from the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) had provided interviews to state media in defense of the government regarding the rumours about Indian troops being stationed in Maldives. Abdul Raheem was also among these interviewees.
During the new government's first press conference, Under Secretary of Public Policy Mohamed Firzul, responding to inquiries from Mihaaru regarding Abdul Raheem's appointment, stated, "Our focus is on the issue we are currently facing. That is, foreign troops being stationed in the Maldives, posing a threat to our sovereignty. And along with this, the agreements that have been made in a manner that will threaten our independence."
Firzul emphasized the focus on addressing issues related to foreign troop presence, particularly Indian soldiers violating the country's sovereignty. He added, "Right now, we are focusing on taking the work forward in full swing and fully restoring our independence and sovereignty."
He said that State positions are also being aligned with these objectives in mind.
During the election campaign, the current president frequently emphasized the need to disclose the number of Indian soldiers in the country and reveal related agreements. Firzul provided details on the ongoing investigation, confirming the presence of 77 Indian soldiers. Additionally, he mentioned that the two countries have signed 108 agreements, with an ongoing study to expose sections that may threaten the sovereignty of the country.