The government on Monday falsified the claims made by former Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer regarding the alleged establishment of an Indian military base in Addu.
Speaking on a Channel 13 programme on Sunday night, Umar made claims of a “full-fledged Indian military base” being established in Addu, calling it the first phase of India invading Maldives.
Ibrahim Hoodh, Chief Communications Strategist at the President’s Office, declared that there was no truth to the former home minister’s statements.
Regarding Umar’s claims, Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF)'s Information Officer Captain Ibrahim Azim declared that the defence force will not comment on statements made by politicians.
On the programme, Umar mentioned an alleged agreement between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former president Mohamed Nasheed on the construction of an Indian military base in Maldives.
“Former President Nasheed is making secret deals with India to establish a military base in Addu. I know of this, and so does the Maldivian military. The Intelligence Unit can confirm that they knew about the agreement and the construction of the Indian military base”, said Umar.
Umar insisted that the two India-gifted helicopters operated in Maldives was an excuse to allow the Indian military into the country, and that the Maldivian government has no control over the operations of the helicopters. He further stated that even more Indian officers will enter the country upon the excuse of maintaining the radars. However, Chief of Defence Force Major General Abdulla Shamaal previously stated that radars are not to be maintained by Indian military.
According to Umar, three former defence ministers had informed him of the helicopters not being in the Maldivian military’s control, and had told him of Indian officers operating helicopters despite the refusal of the Maldivian military.
“They are operating helicopters without the knowledge of the defence minister or the chief of staff. When questioned as to why they flew without permission, they claimed they receiver orders from the Indian government”, asserted Umar.
He strongly insisted that MNDF could justify his claims.
“The helicopters are not under our command or control and the defence force can prove this”.
Despite Umar’s claims, in a statement given to Strategic News International (SNI), Major General Abdulla Shamaal declared that although the helicopters were not flown by Maldivians, they were operated under MNDF’s command.
Umar asserted that the Indian officials overstayed their welcome, and had refused to leave even upon the request of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, and that the helicopters were an excuse to spy on the Chinese.
Umar alleged that those were the reasons for not training Maldivians to fly the helicopters.
“It was on purpose. They will never train Maldivians”.
He also posed five questions to sceptics:
1- Are Indian officers in Maldives increasing or decreasing?
2- Are Indian military forces in Maldives increasing or decreasing?
3- Is it believable that the Maldivian defence force are not capable of flying helicopters?
4- Does Maldives need two helicopters?
5- If the helicopters had been handed over to the Maldivian military, why were they not transporting the sickly?
Umar himself answered all the questions he posed, further strengthening his claims.
Umar's statements came in the wake of the arrival of India's Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj in Maldives.