India Replaces Maldives Troops with Technical Teams

On March 2nd, India’s Ministry of External Affairs confirmed that the first batch of Indian technical personnel has arrived in Maldives to take over operating duties of some military staff deployed in the island nation. The move follows recent discussions between both governments to replace soldiers with technical teams.

Deployment Background

India has maintained a small military presence in Maldives for years under cooperation agreements to handle air and coastal surveillance using helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft.

However, the then opposition party – now under newly elected President Ibrahim Muizzu – campaigned to remove Indian troops under its “India Out” plank alleging sovereignty violations. This had complicated bilateral ties recently.

Compromise Outcome

To resolve the dispute, both countries have struck a compromise with New Delhi agreeing to replace fully trained military teams with civilian personnel capable of technologically handling aviation assets.

As the first contingent replaces some of the 88 Indian soldiers previously stationed to operate India-gifted helicopters and planes, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal described this as fulfilling commitments to Maldives. He declined to specify numbers swapped in the initial batch.

Technical Teams Skillsets

The replacement technical groups comprise personnel skilled in light helicopter operations, maintenance procedures and related aspects drawn from India’s Coast Guard and civil aviation divisions.

Besides operating the platforms, they can train local crew over time for smooth eventual transfer to full Maldivian management in line with strategic self-reliance goals.

Broader Defense Ties

Strategic analysts assert that beyond the immediate row, New Delhi remains committed to deepening comprehensive defense partnerships with Maldives considering wider Indian Ocean stability.

This is reflected in both countries coordinating maritime security initiatives, India supporting infrastructure development of Maldives National Defense Force facilities, besides boosting trade/investment linkages for mutual prosperity.



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