President Mohamed Muizzu's demand led to the withdrawal of Indian troops from the Maldives.

Maldivian Defense Minister acknowledges that their pilots are unable to operate aircraft provided by India

The Maldives military has admitted to having a shortage of pilots trained to fly three aircraft that India supplied, leaving it with a capability gap. This occurs only a few days after the Indian defense personnel who flew the aircraft departed.

To Put It Briefly

  • Maldives’ Minister of Defense claims that military pilots are not trained to fly Indian aircraft.
  • Days after Indian military forces piloting the aircraft left the Maldives¬†
  • following the agreed-upon deadline, an announcement was made.

Days after the last of the Indian defense officials left the island nation, Ghassan Maumoon, the minister of defense for the Maldives, acknowledged that his force does not have pilots qualified to fly the three aircraft that India donated.

At a press conference in Male on Sunday, Defense Minister Ghassan Maumoon declared, “There aren’t any people licensed to fly the aircraft.”

Maumoon clarified that for unclear reasons, Maldivian soldiers enrolled in the aircraft piloting program under earlier governments were unable to finish it.

Following a deadline established in February as part of a deal between the two countries, the Indian officials departed the Maldives on Friday. Soon after assuming office in November 2023, the pro-China Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu made a demand that was eventually met with this deal.

As per the May 10 deadline established after the two nations’ agreement in New Delhi in February, the Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives to operate two platforms for helicopters and a Dornier aircraft have departed Male and returned to India by Friday.

The decision to swap out Indian military troops for civilians is perceived as a blow to India’s attempts to fend off Chinese influence in the tiny but strategically significant nation to its south.

Since taking office, Muizzu’s administration has excluded India from a number of projects and signed a number of agreements with China to strengthen commercial ties.

In March, the Maldives and China signed a military assistance agreement. In the backyard of India, it has also permitted a Chinese research vessel to dock at its port.

Pro-China Muizzu ran on a “India Out” platform, claiming that the Maldives’ sovereignty was undermined by the Indian military’s presence in the nation, even as New Delhi’s relations to Male, the capital of the Maldives, increased dramatically under the previous government.

Muizzu urged India to return the 77 military personnel, most of them pilots, crew members, and technicians who fly two helicopters and an airplane to help the island nation with maritime surveillance, medical evacuations, and search and rescue missions. However, the men’s presence was seen as “boots on the ground” in the Maldives.

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