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Agreement on expelling Indian troops kept confidential

Foreign Ministry has stated that the agreement signed with India on replacing Indian military troops operating aircrafts in Maldives with Indian civilians will be kept confidential to avoid the risk of disrupting peace and security of the nation.

Aishath Shuba Solih
27 March 2024, MVT 17:54
Indian military coming down from a helicopter that arrived in Male' with an emergency patient. -- Photo: Hussain Waheed
Aishath Shuba Solih
27 March 2024, MVT 17:54

The government has decided to not reveal the agreement signed with India on replacing the Indian military stationed in Maldives with civilians of the country.

The two countries have come to an agreement on bringing Indian civilians to Maldives in order to replace the military officials operating the three aircrafts gifted to Maldives by India consequent to the removal of Indian military presence from Maldives. While President Dr Mohamed Muizzu has stated that an agreement was signed with the Indian government in consensus of this, the procedures to remove the Indian troops are progressed under this agreement.

This also remains the first agreement the Maldives had entered into with India regarding a defensive matter.

Mihaaru News had reached out to the Foreign Ministry, requesting information on the agreement reached between the two countries on the removal of the Indian troops established in Maldives under the Right to Information Act.

However, the Ministry's response delivered last Sunday had stated that they are unable to disclose a copy of the agreement and maintained that this is done in conformity of Article 29 of the Right to Information Act.

This Article stipulates that State Institutions reserves the right to withhold information in the case that there is fear of irreparable damages befalling the nation in revealing information associated within the prohibited category in the Constitution which may harm the security of the country.

The law details events that may damage the country's sovereignty, independence as well as a person's life or material goods within prohibited events that may threaten the security of the nation.

The former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's administration had also withheld information on the defensive agreements signed with India, insisting the main reason for this as fear of threatening national security with disclosure.

However, the opposition at the time, People's National Congress (PNC) & Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) coalition had heavily criticized this. Moreover, President Dr Mohamed Muizzu had pledged to divulge this information during his tenure.