President Dr Mohamed Muizzu articulated the Maldives' need to augment its modern military capabilities for a comprehensive national defence strategy encompassing terrestrial, aerial, and maritime domains. He made the remarks while delivering his Presidential Address at this year's inaugural session of the People's Majlis today. This was President Dr Muizzu’s first Presidential Address in Parliament since his inception as President.

In his address, the President stated that the support of a large majority of the Maldivian citizens for his Administration was for the pledges to withdraw foreign military troops from the country, recover the lost area of the Maldivian territory, and terminate any agreements made by the state that might undermine the country's sovereignty.

Withdrawal of Indian troops

The President stated that diplomatic negotiations were underway for the withdrawal of Indian troops. He detailed that, as agreed in the latest negotiations, the military personnel on one of the three aviation platforms would be withdrawn before March 10, 2024, and the military personnel on the remaining two platforms would be withdrawn before May 10, 2024.

The President added that the Maldivian Government has officially communicated that it will not renew the agreement enabling foreign nations to measure and map the Maldivian oceans and coastlines.

Recovering the lost sovereign territory

The President stated that a team of experts is now working strenuously to find ways, per international law, to advocate for and recover the Maldives' lost sovereign territory.

Increasing the Maldives' military capabilities

President Dr Muizzu underscored the necessity for the Maldives to fortify its military capabilities across terrestrial, aerial, and maritime domains as part of a comprehensive defence strategy. He further highlighted that the nation's defence force is on the verge of achieving round-the-clock surveillance capabilities over the nation's 900,000-square-kilometre Exclusive Economic Zone.

He emphasised that while safeguarding our nation's sovereignty, the primary commitment in governance will be to place the welfare of the people and the nation at the forefront, guided by the "Pro Maldives" principle.