Maldivian Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi has affirmed that the presence of Indian military personnel in her country was no reason to be concerned as the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) retained full control, in an interview with News 18.
Didi expressed her government's gratitude to India for providing the armed forces of her country with two Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and also for consenting to bear the cost of piloting and maintenance.
“The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) remains in full control of the helicopters. I don’t have any concerns over the Indian pilots because they remain under Maldivian command and control. We should be very grateful to the pilots, because they have often risked their lives, flying in bad weather, to rescue stranded fishermen or airlift sick or injured Maldivians from remote islands and bring them to a hospital,” she stated.
She expressed regret over the fact that Maldivians were not signing up for pilot training, reasoning that it could be because of a preference for flying fixed-wing aircraft, which were more useful in the tourism sector.
Didi added that the Maldives should not be viewed as a small island state, but rather a big ocean state. She stated, “We have an enormous EEZ, and over 1,000 islands. This is a vast area to police and defend. Maritime security is, therefore, extremely important for us, and our ties with India help improve our maritime security.”
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.