NEW DELHI: New Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu has said the country will be free of foreign military presence and promised amicable relations with neighbouring and distant countries.

Muizzu on Friday evening succeeded Ibrahim Mohamed Solih as the nation’s new leader.

He defeated Solih in September’s presidential election.

One of his election promises was to end India’s military presence in the nation known for its beautiful beaches and top holiday resorts.

It is not publicly known how many Indian troops are in the Maldives but their number reported in the media is about 75.

India and China have invested in various infrastructure projects in the Maldives and seek to expand their influence in the strategically located archipelago nation.

Solih was seen as too pro-India, which contributed to public resentment against him.

The Maldives would reciprocate the respect for independence and sovereignty that it expects from other nations, Muizzu said in his speech after the swearing-in.

“Using the instrument of diplomacy, I will ensure that this country has no foreign military presence on its soil,“ he said.

Muizzu said no external nation’s interests will supersede those of the Maldives and its people.

Maldives Chief Justice Ahmed Muthasim Adnan administered the oath of office to the new president at a ceremony held at the Republic Square attended by many foreign dignitaries.

Hussain Mohamed Latheef was sworn in as the new vice president.

The president later in the evening unveiled his 22-member cabinet.

Moosa Zameer has been appointed as the new foreign minister and Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon is the minister of defence. - Bernama