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‘Our Pilots Are Not Capable Of Flying Indian Aircraft’; Says Maldives Defence Minister

On Sunday, Defense Minister Ghassan Maumoon admitted that the Maldives military still does not have pilots with the necessary skills to operate three aircraft gifted by India.

Edited By : simran rajpal | Updated: May 13, 2024 07:31 IST
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'Our Pilots Are Not Capable Of Flying Indian Aircraft'; Says Maldives Defence Minister

Defence Minister Ghassan Maumoon acknowledged on Sunday that the Maldives military still lacks pilots capable of operating three aircraft donated by India. This acknowledgment comes days after President Mohamed Muizzu ordered the departure of 76 Indian defence personnel from the island nation.

Ghassan briefed the media about the withdrawal of Indian soldiers stationed in Maldives to operate two helicopters and a Dornier aircraft, as well as their replacement with civilians from India.

Also Read: Suspended Maldives Minister Issues Apology Following Controversy Over Post On Indian Flag

“Our soldiers did not complete the training, which involved passing through various stages, due to various reasons. Therefore, there are no licensed personnel to fly the aircraft,” Ghassan explained.

Muizzu, a pro-China leader, strained relations between the two countries by insisting on the withdrawal of all Indian military personnel operating the three aviation platforms in the island nation by May 10.

A Maldivian media report stated that the Maldives government does not intend to remove the doctors from India at Senahiya military hospital.

The report noted that during the past five years, senior officials of the current administration, while in opposition, criticized the previous government and asserted that the MNDF had capable pilots, contrary to Ghassan’s remarks. It stated that the primary reason for Indian soldiers arriving with helicopters during the presidencies of Mohamed Nasheed and Abdulla Yameen, as well as the Dornier aircraft during Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s presidency, was to train Maldivians.

Despite the ongoing training challenges, Foreign Minister Zameer announced on Saturday that the agreement to replace Indian soldiers with civilians also included provisions for training local pilots.

Also Read: Maldives’ Economic Stability At Risk Due To $3 Billion China Debt: Implications For India-Maldives Ties And China’s Growing Influence

First published on: May 13, 2024 07:31 AM IST

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