The defence ministry has revealed that the declassification of information regarding Indian troops stationed in the country during previous governments is currently underway. 

This disclosure comes in response to a number of Right to Information (RTI) requests filed by local media outlets, seeking information about the number and purpose of Indian troops in the Maldives during previous administrations, including their involvement in the operation of Indian navy aircraft.

In its response, the defence ministry stated that the government had previously classified this information, and the Information Commissioner’s Office upheld this decision. However, the ministry clarified that it is actively working with the Attorney General’s Office and relevant agencies to declassify the information. Once this process is complete, the ministry plans to voluntarily release the declassified information to the public.

The number of Indian troops remains a controversial matter, as the current government which won the election on a pledge to remove “thousands of Indian troops” stationed in Maldives. 

The new government has on a number of occasions denied to address the actual figure, but the most recent figures given by them – with the deadline to India to remove its troops by 15 March – is only a mere 88 personnel. 

A “core group” comprising representatives from Maldives and India has been formed, and they are actively engaged in discussions to expedite the withdrawal of Indian military personnel from the Maldives. This move marks a significant shift in the relationship between the two countries.