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  • Writer's pictureAvaitors Maldives

No Clear Path for Maldivian Pilots as Indian Civilians Arrive To Operate MNDF Helicopter

In the lead-up to the election, discussions surrounding the removal of Indian military presence in the Maldives were fervent. However, recent developments indicate that the Indian military will continue to operate in the region.

Maldivian Pilots in MNDF who were supposed to be trained to operate the Dornier aircraft in 2021

Following the second meeting of the High-level Core Group between the Maldives and India, a crucial decision was reached: while Indian Military personnel will be withdrawn from the Maldives, Indian aircraft will remain operational.

To achieve this, Indian civilians, who have already arrived in the Maldives, will assume responsibility for operating and managing these aircraft, as stated by the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF). The full handover process is scheduled to occur in the coming days.

By March 10, 2024, military personnel will be replaced in one of the three aviation platforms, with the remaining two platforms following suit by May 10, 2024.

During the meeting, both sides also assessed existing bilateral cooperation. The focus areas included defense and security collaboration, economic ties, and development partnerships.

The Indian military’s involvement in operating Dornier and HAL helicopters has long been a contentious issue, sparking heated debates. Despite plans to train Maldivian pilots for Dornier operations, local individuals have yet to gain access to these military aircraft.

In light of the current agreements, it appears that Maldivians will not be directly involved in operating these aircraft, despite their purported status as gifts to the Maldives.



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