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Maldives: Civilian crew replacing Indian soldiers arrives in line with Muizzu's 'India out' campaign

According to the statement released by the Maldivian Defence Ministry on Monday said, "The civilian crew who will operate the helicopter in place of the Indian troops currently stationed in Seenu Gan (Addu city) has arrived in Maldives this evening."

Ajeet Kumar Written By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Male Updated on: February 27, 2024 7:37 IST
Civilian crew replacing Indian soldiers arrives in Maldives
Image Source : INDIA IN MALDIVES/FACEBOOK/FILE The then Minister of Defence and National Security of Maldives H.E Adam Shareef and High Commissioner of India to Maldives welcomed the ALH and its crew.

Male: In a major development, the first group of Indian civilians who will replace the Indian troops and handle the helicopters provided by New Delhi for medical purposes in Maldives arrived on Monday. According to the statement released by the Maldivian Defence Ministry on Monday said, "The civilian crew who will operate the helicopter in place of the Indian troops currently stationed in Seenu Gan (Addu city) has arrived in Maldives this evening."

The statement further asserted that the civilians will assume the responsibilities of the operation of the helicopter from Tuesday. Besides, the Defence Ministry stressed that a helicopter which has been stationed at the Gan International Airport will be transported to New Delhi via sea route in order to repair it. The replacement will arrive in the same region by Wednesday.

President Muizzu's anti-India campaign 

Notably, the latest action against the Indian forces came against the backdrop of Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu's anti-India campaign. During his election campaign, Muzzi widely advocated China's rhetoric while maintaining his tough stance on India. He, in fact, had run an "India out" campaign where he promised the voters to oust the  Indian troops from the archipelago nation.

Later, after possessing the Presidency, he held a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Climate Summit (COP28) in Dubai where Muizzu insisted on agreeing on the withdrawal of the Indian forces. Later, a round of meetings was held in New Delhi where officials from both countries participated and agreed on the terms which said: "Indian soldiers based in Addu City will be withdrawn before March 10th", and soldiers based in L. Kadhdhoo and HDh. Hanimaadhoo will be withdrawn before May 10th."

India gifted helicopters to Maldives 

It is worth mentioning two advanced light helicopters-- (ALH) and a Dornier aircraft-- provided by New Delhi have been extensively used for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. Both helicopters were provided during the earlier regime which was considered as pro-India. However, ever since Muizzu started an "India out" campaign, he had poised to make the country "free of foreign interference". 

"The second advanced light helicopter (ALH) gifted by India arrived in Maldives on April 27, 2016. Minister of Defence and National Security of Maldives H.E Adam Shareef and High Commissioner of India to Maldives welcomed the ALH and its crew at the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport," read the social media post of India in Maldives when it received the second helicopter from New Delhi.

India-Maldives relations plunged to a new low

Although the relations between the two neighbouring nations had plunged ever since Muizzu took charge of the Presidency, it poised to a new low following contentious remarks by several ministers against PM Modi when he visited Lakshadweep in January this year. This created a major uproar on social media platforms where a flurry of flight and holiday trip cancellations were reported by travel websites. Apprehending the consequences, the government of Maldives issued a statement saying it was aware of derogatory remarks on social media platforms against foreign leaders and high-ranking individuals and added it did not represent the views of the government.

Also Read: 'Maldives couldn't be found on maps 25 years ago but India...': Ex-Defence Min as she calls Muizzu 'immature'

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