Abdul Raheem Abdulla, Director General (DG) of Transition and Chairman of the People’s National Congress (PNC), has said that the exact number of Indian troops in the Maldives still remains unclear. The DG made the announcement during a press briefing held on Thursday as a precursor to a visit to Addu by a high-level delegation from the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) and PNC.

The removal of Indian troops was a key campaign pledge by President-elect Mohamed Muizzu, who campaigned on a PNC ticket backed by PPM.

Speaking to reporters, Abdulla clarified that, while the incoming administration had gleaned a lot of information from state agencies, the exact number of Indian troops in the Maldives remained unclear.

“They [Indian troops] are definitely there,” he said.

There are a number of Indian troops, as well as other foreign troops, in the Maldives, and the process of withdrawing them will start within the first week of President Muizzu’s term, the DG assured. 

Upon securing the presidential election win, Muizzu, as the president-elect, spoke with the Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives, Munu Mahawar, expressing his wishes and further solidifying his position. He explained that India would remain a close ally even if their troops were withdrawn from the Maldives.