Defence

No unauthorised Indian military pilot operations in Maldives: High Commission

The Maldivian High Commission of India declared in a statement that Indian aviation platforms had consistently operated in the Maldives in compliance with "agreed procedures and with due authorisation."

Indian military helicopter pilots stationed in the Maldives allegedly conducted an unlawful mission in 2019. Maldivian Defence Minister Ghassan Maumoon made the claim, which India refuted on Tuesday.

The Maldivian High Commission of India declared in a statement that Indian aviation platforms had consistently operated in the Maldives in compliance with “agreed procedures and with due authorisation.”

This explanation was provided a few days after President Mohamed Muizzu demanded that India evacuate all 76 of its military soldiers from the Maldives. After Muizzu, a pro-China leader, took office in November of last year, ties between India and the Maldives have gradually worsened.

Muizzu has stipulated that Indian military forces were to leave his nation by May 10.

Defence Minister Ghassan said he was aware of one of the aviation platforms conducting an unlawful sortie during a press conference held here on Saturday.

The individual recounted an incident in which one of the two helicopters piloted by Indian military personnel in the Maldives made an unauthorised landing in Thimarafushi. During his legislative tenure, he stated that the case was examined by the Parliament’s Committee on National Security Services (241 Committee).

The Indian High Commission, however, denied the accusation.

“Indian aviation platforms in the Maldives have always operated as per agreed procedures and with due authorisation from the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF),” the High Commission of India said.

The Maldivian Defence Minister’s comments were cited by the High Commission, who stated that the specific incident involving the emergency landing at Thimarafushi on October 9, 2019, was “necessitated due to an unforeseen exigency.” “The MNDF gave its clearance for the particular sortie that was carried out on October 9, 2019, as mentioned during the press briefing.
An unanticipated situation required the emergency landing at Thimarafushi, which was executed after obtaining the required on-ground clearances from the Air Traffic Control (ATC) to guarantee the platform and crew’s safety and security, according to the High Commission.

Local media reports state that on May 11, the MNDF disclosed that during the administration of former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Indian military personnel who had been operating the helicopters that the Indian government had gifted to the Maldives had taken a trip on the helicopter without informing the Maldivian military.

Admittedly, during the same press conference, Defence Minister Ghassan acknowledged that the Maldives military currently lacks pilots qualified to fly three Indian-donated aircraft.

Two helicopters and a Dornier aircraft that India had gifted were operated by Indian military forces stationed in the Maldives. Medical evacuations were the main purpose of the aircraft and the helicopters.

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