Indian Helicopters To Stay in Maldives; Bilateral Relations Get Big Boost

The Defence Minister of Maldives has stated that two Indian helicopters which New Delhi had gifted to the island nation will stay in the country. This announcement by Mariya Didi came after the swearing-in of new President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

The Maldives under Abdulla Yameen, who was defeated by Solih September election, had asked India to remove two helicopters along with 50 military personnel this year.

The Defence Minister stated: “It’s not in our culture to ask neighbours to take back what they give.” One chopper is deployed in the Indian Ocean nation’s southernmost island of Addu and the other in the strategically-located Lammu

The helicopters were gifted in 2013 by India on Maldives’ request. The helicopters can be put to good use for medical evacuations and for search and rescue.  Maldives’ former ambassador to India, Ahmed Mohamed earlier stated that “Helicopters were very useful in the past but with the development of adequate infrastructure, facilities and resources we are now in a position to handle medical evacuations on our own.”

Solih took oath as the new President of Maldives in the presence of 17 foreign dignitaries and representatives from 46 countries, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  In his first address as the President, Solih said, “We will strive to boost existing ties with India.

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