High Commission dismisses Maldives’ claim of unauthorised Indian military ops in 2019

Approval was taken, says the Commission

Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu

Refuting the allegations raised by Defence Minister Ghassan Maumoon, India on Tuesday said that the Indian military helicopter pilots stationed in Maldives did not carry out any unauthorised operation in 2019. 

The High Commission of India in the Maldives asserted that Indian aviation platforms always operated to the "agreed procedures and with due authorisation" in the country. 

The Commission's response comes after India completed the withdrawal of 76 military personnel stationed in Maldives following the demand of President Mohamed Muizzu. 

India-Maldives relationship became tense since Muizzu, a pro-China leader, became the president. He had set May 10 as the deadline for the withdrawal of the Indian troops from the country. 

While speaking to the media, Ghassan said that he knew of one of the aviation platforms undertaking an unauthorised sortie. 

While narrating an incident, he said that one of the two helicopters operated by Indian military personnel in the Maldives landed in Thimarafushi, allegedly without permission. Ghassan also added that the incident was reviewed by the Parliament's Committee on National Security Services (241 Committee) when he was a lawmaker. 

Dismissing the allegation, the Commission stated, "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 Commission also added that the particular incident which saw an emergency landing at Thimarafushi on October 9, 2019, was necessitated due to an unforeseen exigency.

"The specific sortie on 09 October 2019 referred to at the press conference was also undertaken with the approval of MNDF.

The emergency landing at Thimarafushi was necessitated due to an unforeseen exigency, which was 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," the High Commission asserted.

During the press conference, Ghassan also said that the Maldives military still does not have pilots capable of operating three aircraft donated by India. 

The Indian military personnel were stationed in the Maldives to operate two helicopters and a Dornier aircraft gifted by India. The helicopters and the aircraft were used primarily for medical evacuations.

(With PTI inputs)


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