Following a high-level meeting between India and the Maldives on Friday, the Maldivian government announced that India will “replace” its military personnel stationed in the island nation in two phases by May 10th. This decision comes amidst tensions surrounding the presence of Indian troops and recent diplomatic controversies.

The decision stems from a request by the Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu for India to withdraw all its military personnel by March 15th. This demand arose from concerns about foreign troop presence and was further fueled by a social media controversy involving disrespectful remarks made by Maldivian ministers towards Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

India will reportedly phase out its military personnel operating three aviation platforms in the Maldives. In the first phase, personnel on one platform will be replaced by March 10th. The remaining two platforms will see replacements by May 10th.

Instead of deploying military personnel, India plans to hire experienced ex-servicemen to operate the platforms. These individuals will hold expertise in operating Dornier Do-228 and HAL Dhruv helicopters, along with necessary ground crews and technicians.

The withdrawal of Indian military personnel could impact bilateral relations and regional security dynamics. While the specifics of the replacement plan remain unclear, utilizing ex-servicemen could potentially address concerns about foreign troop presence while maintaining technical expertise. However, the long-term consequences of this decision require further analysis.