Civilian crew replacing Indian soldiers arrives in Maldives

Helicopter donated by India in operation in the Maldives. (File Photo/Sun/Fayaz Moosa)

The civilian crew that will replace the Indian soldiers based in Addu City to operate the helicopter donated by India arrived in the Maldives on Monday evening.

Defense Ministry, in a statement, said that the civilian crew will assume the responsibilities of the operation of the helicopter starting tonight.

The statement further read that as part of the process of replacing the Indian troops in Addu City, the helicopter stationed in Gan will be transported to India for repair, for which test flights will commence tomorrow. 

An Indian navy ship that will transport this helicopter to India and bringing in a replacement helicopter is due in Addu City on Wednesday.

Indian soldiers based in Addu City needs to be withdrawn before March 10th. Meanwhile, Indian soldiers based in L. Kadhdhoo and HDh. Hanimaadhoo needs to be withdrawn before May 10th.

Defense Ministry, in their statement, reiterated that the soldiers in Addu City will be withdrawn by the agreed date. The Ministry added that discussions pertaining to the withdrawal of the soldiers in Kadhdhoo and Hanimadhoo will proceed via diplomatic channels.

President Dr. Mohamed Muizz based his presidential campaign on expelling the Indian military personnel in the Maldives.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs, following a meeting of the High-Level Core Group between Maldives and India regarding the withdrawal of troops, said the Indian soldiers operating Indian aviation platforms that provide humanitarian and medical evacuation services to the Maldivian people will be replaced by technical personnel.