July 21, 2024
Chicago 12, Melborne City, USA

India Refutes Maldives’ Claim of 2019 Helicopters Operation


India has refuted claims made by Maldivian Defence Minister Ghassan Maumoon regarding an unauthorized operation by Indian military helicopters and pilots in 2019. The Indian High Commission in the Maldives emphasized that all Indian aviation platforms stationed there have always functioned according to established procedures and with proper authorization.

This statement follows the recent withdrawal of 76 Indian military personnel from the Maldives, a move demanded by President Mohamed Muizzu. Since Muizzu, who leans towards China, took office in November last year, relations between India and the Maldives have been strained. Muizzu had set a deadline of May 10 for the withdrawal of Indian troops.

At a press conference, Defence Minister Ghassan alleged that one of the Indian-operated helicopters had landed in Thimarafushi without permission, a matter that was reportedly reviewed by the Maldivian Parliament’s National Security Services Committee. However, the Indian High Commission rejected this allegation, clarifying that the landing was an emergency maneuver authorized by the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and coordinated with Air Traffic Control (ATC).

Local media reported that the MNDF had disclosed the unauthorized helicopter trip under former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration. Interestingly, Ghassan also admitted that the Maldivian military currently lacks pilots capable of operating the three aircraft donated by India, which Indian personnel have been managing. These aircraft, including two helicopters and a Dornier, were primarily used for medical evacuations.

The last group of Indian military personnel left the Maldives by the May 10 deadline, concluding an agreement made between the two nations in February.

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