MALE: The Maldives will press on with Chinese-backed construction and evict Indian troops from the strategically placed atoll nation, President Mohamed Muizzu’s office said on Tuesday, two days after his party’s stunning parliamentary victory.

He thanked voters for the landslide victory by his Peoples National Congress, which promised a boom in building apartments, bridges and new airports with Chinese funding.

Muizzu, 45, won September presidential polls after vowing to evict 89 Indian troops deployed in the country.

The Indian contingent, operating three aircraft patrolling the archipelago’s vast maritime boundary, is due to leave by May 10.

Muizzu consolidated his hold on power by winning more than two-thirds of the seats in Sunday’s vote for the 93-member assembly.

“We will bid farewell to the enduring anguish of housing insecurity, a pressing and long-standing concern burdening the Maldivian populace,” his office said, quoting his promise at a victory rally in Male on Monday.

He did not mention China or India by name, but said he will work towards ensuring that the country’s sovereignty is not compromised.

“It is important that Maldivians have sole authority over matters concerning our nation, to be addressed according to our desires,” he said.

Muizzu previously declared that the deployment of Indian troops was an affront to Maldivians, who he said were capable of patrolling their own waters without personnel from the regional powerhouse.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2024

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