Maldives military pilots unable to fly Dornier and helicopters donated by India: Defense Minister Ghassan

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a meeting with Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu. | Photo credit: PTI

The Maldives military still lacks pilots capable of flying three aircraft donated by India, Defense Minister Ghassan Maumoon has acknowledged, days after 76 Indian defense personnel left the island at the insistence of Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu.

Mr Ghassan made these remarks at a press conference held at the President’s office here on May 11 to brief the media on the withdrawal of Indian soldiers stationed in the Maldives to fly two helicopters and a Dornier aircraft and their replacement by citizens from India.

Responding to a question from a journalist, Mr Ghassan said there were no Maldivian soldiers in the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) who could fly the three aircraft donated by the Indian Army, despite some soldiers having started training to fly them under agreements formed by previous governments.

“Because it was a training that had to go through several phases, our soldiers were not yet completed for various reasons. Therefore, there are currently no people in our force who are licensed or fully operational to fly the two helicopters and Dornier aircraft. ,” Mr. Ghassan was quoted by news portal Adhadhu.com.

Relations between the two countries came under serious strain after Mr Muizzu, a pro-China leader, pushed for the withdrawal of all Indian military personnel operating the three aviation platforms in the island nation by May 10. India has already withdrawn 76 soldiers. .

However, the Maldives government has no plans to remove the doctors from India at the Senahiya military hospital, according to a report in the Maldivian media.

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Contrary to what Mr Ghassan said, during the past five years when the current government was in opposition, senior officials of the current government criticized the previous government and claimed that there were competent pilots in the MNDF, Adhadhu’s report said. com.

Training Maldivians was the main reason for the arrival of Indian soldiers with the helicopters donated during the administrations of former President Mohamed Nasheed and Abdulla Yameen and the Dornier aircraft brought during the administration of former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, said the report.

Despite the fact that the training has not been completed so far, Foreign Minister Zameer said on May 11 that the agreement to replace the Indian soldiers with civilians also included provisions for training local pilots.

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