After returning from his trip to China, President Mohamed Solih of the Maldives has set a deadline. However, India has not yet responded to his demand. Let’s explore the presence and activities of Indian soldiers in the Maldives. It’s worth noting that the Maldives’ dependence on China is increasing.

In the Maldives, there are currently 77 Indian soldiers deployed, along with 12 medical staff from the Indian Armed Forces. The Indian Army assists in humanitarian aid and relief efforts for Maldivian citizens, providing helicopters and a drone aircraft primarily for maritime surveillance, search and rescue missions, and medical evacuations. The deployment of the first helicopter and pilot team in the Maldives by India began in 2010 when Mohamed Nasheed was the President of the Maldives.

President Mohamed Solih, following his return from China, has officially given India until March 15th to withdraw its soldiers from the Maldives. The strained relationship between the two countries intensified due to remarks made by three Maldivian leaders on social media regarding India and Prime Minister Modi during his recent visit to Lakshadweep.

Regarding the Maldives, China aims to enhance its influence in a strategically significant location for security. The Maldives, with a population of about five lakh, is heavily dependent on India for rice, vegetables, medicines, and humanitarian assistance. However, President Solih, who assumed office last November, promised during the elections to remove Indian soldiers from the Maldives. He has also chosen China for his first foreign visit, breaking the tradition of selecting India for the first foreign trip. Solih is perceived as a supporter of China.

It’s essential to highlight the increasing dependence of the Maldives on China. Situated in the busiest maritime trade routes of the Indian Ocean, the islands witness approximately 80% of China’s oil imports. The presence of the Chinese military in the Maldives poses a serious threat to India’s security.

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