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Indian civilians to operate helicopters arrive in Maldives, Indian military readies to leave

Mariyath Mohamed
27 February 2024, MVT 11:08
One of the two helicopters gifted by India to the Maldives.
Mariyath Mohamed
27 February 2024, MVT 11:08

Ministry of Defence has announced that a civilian crew from India has arrived in the Maldives yesterday afternoon who will take over operations of the helicopter that has until now been run by Indian military.

The Ministry said that the team would arrive in Addu last night and undertake handover/takeover measures.

Maldives and India have agreed that the Government of India will replace the military personnel in one of the three aviation platforms by 10 March 2024, and will complete replacing military personnel in the other two platforms by 10 May 2024, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs previously annouced.

Defence Ministry said that in accordance with this diplomatic arrangement, Indian military personnel stationed in Addu atoll Gan are preparing to leave the country by the agreed date.

In addition to this, the Ministry said that the helicopter itself is being taken to India for repair and maintenance, with India sending a replacement helicopter to be used in the meantime.

The helicopter will be conducting test flights from February 27, the statement announced.

It further said that an Indian ship carrying the replacement helicopter, which will also be transporting this helicopter back to India for repairs, will be arriving in Addu City, Maldives on February 28.

Maldives National Defence Force, meanwhile, has confirmed that the number of civilian crew members brought from India will be equivalent to the number of military personnel that they are replacing.

Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Abdul Raheem Abdul Latheef told Mihaaru today that approximately 25 persons are tasked with operating the helicopter in Addu City.

The Defence Ministry assured that the government is conducting all necessary deliberations under diplomatic best practices to replace Indian military personnel located in Laamu atoll Kahdhoo and Haa Dhaalu atoll Hanimadhoo as well by May 10 as previously agreed.

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