The Office of President-elect Mohamed Muizzu has said that the Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives Munu Mahawar has expressed readiness to discuss withdrawal of Indian troops and concessions in loan repayments.

In his first media briefing on Saturday, transitional spokesperson Mohammed Firzul Abdullah Khaleel said that during the meeting between Muizzu and Mahawar, the president-elect had made it clear that Indian troops had to be withdrawn from the Maldives.

“The decision of the Maldivian people was very clear, the President-elect said [to the Indian High Commissioner]. Indian troops cannot be stationed here. The Indian High Commissioner has said that he will respect that decision. And additionally that he respects the sovereignty of the Maldives,” Khaleel said.

The withdrawal of Indian troops from the Maldives was the biggest talking point of Muizzu’s presidential campaign. He had assured the nation of his commitment even after winning the election.

The Indian High Commissioner said India is also ready to discuss concessions in the repayment of loans to the Maldives, Khaleel said.

Meanwhile, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said to the Indian media that they were ready to discuss a wide range of issues with the Maldives, with MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi saying the two countries face numerous mutual challenges.

The president-elect has said that relations with India will remain largely intact despite the withdrawal of troops and that he intends to pay an official visit to the country upon taking oath as the head of state. However, it has yet to be determined whether India will be Muizzu’s first official trip abroad.