Why maldives Govt Said Pilots Can’t Fly...?

The speculation behind the number of indian military personnel repatriated from maldives was put to rest after foreign minister of the island country made the announcement over the weekend in line with the agreement reached between the two nations in February. A few days later, maldives defence minister Ghassan Maumoon admitted that the country’s military lacks pilots qualified to fly three Dornier aircraft given by India.

Ghassan told media that although some soldiers in the maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) had started flying training, none of the three aircraft supplied by the indian military were operated by Maldivian soldiers. “As it was a training that required passing various stages, our soldiers had not reached completion due to various reasons. Therefore, there aren’t any people in our force at the moment who are licensed or fully operational to fly the two helicopters and Dornier aircraft,” Ghassan was quoted as saying by Adhadhu.com news portal.

As per reports, the repatriation of 76 indian soldiers happened in a phased manner. maldives foreign minister Moosa Zameer had mentioned that 26 soldiers left Gan between march 7 and march 9, followed by 25 from Hanimaadhoo between april 7 and april 9, and 12 from Kadhdhoo on May 7, with the final batch withdrawing on May 9. The agreement between india and maldives was reached on the request of maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, known for his pro-China stance, after assuming office in November. Zameer clarified that civilian employees of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the manufacturer of the gifted aircraft by india, have replaced the soldiers.

India had provided maldives with Dornier aircraft in 2020 to help the island nation enhance surveillance over its exclusive economic zone as well as to keep an eye on sea-borne terrorists. The requirement for Dornier was raised by then maldives president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom during a visit to india in 2016. The relations turned sour when People’s National congress leader Mohamed Muizzu came to power in maldives in november 2023. Muizzu was a candidate of the Progressive congress, a coalition of his own People’s National congress (PNC) along with People’s party of maldives (PPM) — incarcerated Yameen’s party.

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