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India refutes Maldives' claim of unauthorised military Ops

The Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives were tasked with operating these donated helicopters and a Dornier aircraft, primarily used for medical evacuations. 

News Arena Network - Malé - UPDATED: May 14, 2024, 07:14 AM - 3 mins read

Indian military personnel pose with the helicopter gifted to the Maldives by India.

India refutes Maldives' claim of unauthorised military Ops

Indian military personnel pose with the helicopter gifted to the Maldives by India.


India has vehemently denied allegations made by Maldivian Defence Minister Ghassan Maumoon regarding unauthorised operations conducted by Indian military helicopter pilots stationed in the Maldives back in 2019.

 

In a statement issued by the High Commission of India in the Maldives, it was affirmed that Indian aviation platforms in the Maldives have consistently adhered to agreed-upon procedures and operated with proper authorisation.

 

This incident comes at a time when both nations are witnessing strained relations. 

 

President Mohamed Muizzu, who assumed office in November 2023 and is perceived to favour closer ties with China, had demanded the withdrawal of Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives. 

 

India obliged, completing the troop withdrawal on May 10th, 2024.

 

At a press conference on May 11th, Defence Minister Maumoon alleged that one of the two helicopters operated by Indian personnel landed on Thimarafushi Island in 2019 without permission. 

 

He claimed that this incident was investigated by the Maldivian Parliament's Committee on National Security Services during his previous tenure as a lawmaker.

 

The Indian High Commission countered these claims, stressing that "Indian aviation platforms in the Maldives have always operated as per agreed procedures and with due authorisation from the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF)."

 

They clarified the specific incident in question, which involved an emergency landing at Thimarafushi on October 9th, 2019. 

 

The High Commission explained that this landing was "necessitated due to an unforeseen exigency" and carried out "after taking necessary on-ground approvals from the Air Traffic Control (ATC) to ensure the safety and security of the platform and crew."

 

Local Maldivian media reports further complicate the narrative. On May 11th, the MNDF reportedly acknowledged an unauthorized helicopter trip undertaken by Indian military personnel during the administration of former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. 

 

However, Defence Minister Maumoon also conceded that the Maldivian military currently lacks pilots qualified to operate the three aircraft gifted by India, including the helicopters involved in the aforementioned incidents.

 

The Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives were tasked with operating these donated helicopters and a Dornier aircraft, primarily used for medical evacuations. 

 

Their repatriation by May 10th marked the culmination of an agreement reached between India and the Maldives in February 2024.

 

The Maldives holds strategic significance for India, being a key maritime neighbor in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). 

 

India's regional security initiatives, such as SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region), and its Neighbourhood First Policy, have traditionally placed a high value on close ties with the archipelago nation.

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