The true extent of the Indian military presence in the country remains shrouded in uncertainty, with President Mohamed Muizzu disclosing inconsistent figures, ranging from 77 to 89, regarding the number of Indian troops stationed in the Maldives.

This ambiguity surfaced during a press briefing on Tuesday where President Muizzu acknowledged a lack of clear information on the matter—a situation that contradicts his election campaign assertions of thousands of Indian soldiers on Maldivian soil.

The issue of the Indian military presence, a focal point of President Muizzu’s campaign, has now become a subject of parliamentary scrutiny. Baarashu MP Ahmed Abdulla, representing the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), has initiated an emergency motion in the Parliament regarding the matter. 

The motion demands the government to reveal the specifics of any agreements made with India, particularly those allegedly undermining the sovereignty of the Maldives. It also calls for transparency regarding the number of Indian troops on military visas in the country.

Abdulla’s motion, supported by a majority of MPs present, also references President Muizzu’s recent discussions with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the COP28 summit in Dubai. Muizzu, who met with various Indian officials, including the Indian ambassador, recently announced that India had agreed to the withdrawal of its troops. However, details of these agreements or a timeline for the withdrawal remain undisclosed.

The President’s Office’s Public Policy Undersecretary Mohamed Firzul, in a recent press conference, acknowledged the presence of 77 Indian army officers, yet this figure is not consistent with other reports. The discrepancy in numbers and the lack of a clear stance from President Muizzu have fuelled further speculation and calls for transparency.