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“Sortie undertaken with approval”: India clarifies after Maldives alleges unauthorized landing by Indian helicopter in 2019

Tue, 14 May 2024   |  Reading Time: 2 minutes

Male [Maldives], May 14 (ANI): The Indian High Commission has issued a clarification on Tuesday after a Maldivian official levelled allegations of an unauthorized landing by an Indian helicopter in 2019.
Noting that the “October 9” sortie was undertaken with the approval of MNDF (Maldives National Defence Force), the High Commission said that the emergency landing at Thimarafushi (Thaa Atoll) had to be done due to an “unforeseen exigency.”
“Indian aviation platforms in the Maldives have always operated as per agreed procedures and with due authorization from MNDF. The specific sortie on 09 October 2019 referred to at the press conference was also undertaken with the approval of MNDF,” the Indian High Commission in Maldives said in a statement, in response to a media query on remarks made at the Government of Maldives’ Press Conference on May 11, 2024.
“The emergency landing at Thimarafushi was necessitated due to an unforeseen exigency, which was carried out after taking necessary on-ground approvals from the ATC to ensure the safety and security of the platform and crew,” the statement read.

India’s response has come after Maldives Minister of Defence, Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon, during a press conference on Saturday last week alleged that a helicopter had been flown without Maldivian authorization.
According to Maldives-based The Edition, Minister of Defence Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon had also said in the press conference that “the issue had been raised in the Parliament’s Committee on National Security Services (241 Committee) when he had been serving in the committee in his earlier capacity as a member of parliament.”
More information about the incident was later provided by Major General Ibrahim Hilmy, Chief of Defence Force.
According to Hilmy, the unauthorised flight had taken place, and the Indian military personnel landed the helicopter on the island of Thimarafushi in Thaa Atoll, which is located approximately 222 kilometres south of Male’, the capital of the island nation.
“They were notified that the helicopter and Dornier can only be operated with authorization from the Maldivian military,” Hilmy had stated, according to The Edition.
Earlier on May 10, the Ministry of External Affairs confirmed the withdrawal of Indian military personnel from the Maldives and the “deputation of competent persons” to the archipelago nation.
Mohamed Muizzu-led Maldives government had formally requested India withdraw its troops from Male. The removal of Indian troops from Maldives was the main election campaign of Muizzu’s party.
The relations between New Delhi and Male have been strained since Mohamed Muizzu assumed office. (ANI)



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