MALE: India has withdrawn 51 of its soldiers from the Maldives so far, the government here has said ahead of the May 10 deadline set by President Mohamed Muizzu for the complete withdrawal of Indian military personnel from his country. The Maldivian government earlier announced that two batches of Indian soldiers had left the country. However, the exact figure was not disclosed previously.

The Chief Spokesperson of the President's Office Heena Waleed, in response to questions regarding the issue, said on Monday, that a total of 51 Indian soldiers have been repatriated so far.

"All Indian military personnel in the country will be withdrawn from the Maldives by May 10. As of now, 51 soldiers stationed at two platforms have been repatriated," Heena was quoted as saying by the news portal.

She however refused to disclose the exact figure of the Indian soldiers stationed in the Maldives, stating the details would be shared at a later date, news portal reported.

According to previous announcements by the Maldives government, 88 Indian soldiers were stationed in the country to operate two helicopters, a Dornier aircraft and at the Senahiya military hospital. The two helicopters and the Dronier aircraft were gifted by India.

President Muizzu, widely seen as a pro-China leader, had set May 10 as the deadline for the withdrawal of the Indian military personnel from his country.

Repatriation of Indian soldiers stationed in the Maldives was a key pledge of Muizzu during his presidential campaign.

India has already withdrawn some of its military personnel operating three aviation platforms in the Maldives. The military personnel were replaced by Indian civilian technical experts.

India and the Maldives have also agreed to withdraw the remaining Indian troops before May 10. The two sides held the fourth meeting of the bilateral high-level core group in New Delhi on May 3.

"Both sides noted with satisfaction that the Government of India will replace military personnel at the last of the three aviation platforms by May 10 and all the logistical arrangements are going ahead as per schedule," the Maldivian foreign ministry said on Friday after the core group meeting.

Two batches of Indian soldiers in the Maldives have left the country, including soldiers who operated helicopters in Addu and the Dornier aircraft in Haa Dhaal Hanimaadhoo. Indian civilian personnel arrived in both areas last month to replace the soldiers, the media here reported.

The Maldives is India's key maritime neighbour in the Indian Ocean Region and occupies a special place in its initiatives like 'SAGAR' (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and the 'Neighbourhood First Policy' of the Modi government.

(With Agency Inputs)