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Business News/ News / India/  ‘Always operated on agreed procedures,’ says India High Commission on Maldives allegation of unauthorised military move
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‘Always operated on agreed procedures,’ says India High Commission on Maldives allegation of unauthorised military move

The India High Commission in Maldives also said that the specific 2019 incident mentioned by Maldivian Defence Minister Maumoon, was also undertaken with the approval of the MNDF

Relations between India and the Maldives have strained since President Mohamed Muizzu, a seemingly pro-China leader, assumed office in November 2023. (AFP)Premium
Relations between India and the Maldives have strained since President Mohamed Muizzu, a seemingly pro-China leader, assumed office in November 2023. (AFP)

India-Maldives Relations: India has dismissed claims made by Maldivian Defence Minister Ghassan Maumoon, who alleged that Indian military helicopter pilots in the Maldives conducted an unauthorised operation in 2019.

In a post on the social media site X (formerly known as Twitter), the High Commission of India in the Maldives issued a statement asserting that Indian aviation platforms in the Maldives have always operated according to “agreed procedures and with due authorisation."

“Indian aviation platforms in the Maldives have always operated as per agreed procedures and with due authorization from MNDF. The specific sortie on 09 October 2019 referred to at the press conference was also undertaken with the approval of MNDF," the statement said. MNDF is the Maldives National Defence Force.

It added that the emergency landing at Thimarafushi “was necessitated due to an unforeseen exigency, which was carried out after taking necessary on-ground approvals from the ATC to ensure the safety and security of the platform and crew."

Background of the Dispute

This clarification follows the recent withdrawal of 76 Indian military personnel from the Maldives, prompted by a demand from President Mohamed Muizzu. Relations between India and the Maldives have strained since Muizzu, a seemingly pro-China leader, assumed office in November 2023.

Muizzu had set a deadline of May 10 for the removal of Indian military troops from the country. The final group of Indian personnel left the Maldives on deadline as agreed upon in February in New Delhi.

In a press conference on May 11, Maumoon recounted an incident where one of two helicopters operated by Indian military personnel in the Maldives landed in Thimarafushi without permission. He stated that the incident was reviewed by the Parliament’s Committee on National Security Services when he was a lawmaker. However, the Indian mission refuted this claim.

During the same press conference, Maumoon also admitted that the Maldives military still lacks pilots capable of operating three aircraft donated by India. Indian military personnel had been stationed in the Maldives to operate two helicopters and a Dornier aircraft, primarily for medical evacuations.

The Maldives is a crucial maritime neighbour for India in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and holds a significant place in initiatives such as ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and the ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’ of the Indian government.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Published: 15 May 2024, 09:17 AM IST
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