News Karnataka
Tuesday, June 18 2024

Pilots Not Capable of Flying Aircraft Donated by India: Maldives Minister

Flying Aircraft
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Male: The Maldives military still does not have pilots capable of operating three aircraft donated by India, Defence Minister Ghassan Maumoon has acknowledged, days after 76 Indian defence personnel left the island nation at the instance of Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu.

Speaking at a press conference held at the President’s Office, Ghassan Maumoon addressed the media regarding the withdrawal of Indian soldiers responsible for operating two helicopters and a Dornier aircraft, who were then replaced by civilians from India.

Despite previous efforts by the Maldivian National Defense Force (MNDF) to train soldiers for this purpose under agreements made by earlier administrations, Ghassan Maumoon stated that none had completed the rigorous training required to fly the aircraft. Consequently, there are currently no licensed or fully operational Maldivian pilots for the helicopters and Dornier aircraft.

Tensions between the Maldives and India escalated when President Muizzu, known for his pro-China stance, insisted on the removal of all Indian military personnel operating the aviation platforms by May 10. India promptly withdrew its 76 personnel, although Maldives clarified that Indian doctors stationed at the Senahiya military hospital would remain.

Interestingly, despite Ghassan Maumoon’s acknowledgment, the current administration’s past opposition members had criticized the previous government, claiming the presence of capable pilots within the MNDF. This inconsistency was highlighted by a report from

The training of Maldivian pilots was the primary objective behind the arrival of Indian soldiers who were tasked with operating the helicopters donated during previous administrations, including those of Mohamed Nasheed and Abdulla Yameen, as well as the Dornier aircraft donated during Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s presidency.

Nevertheless, despite the setback in training efforts thus far, Foreign Minister Zameer stated that the agreement to replace Indian soldiers with civilians also includes provisions for training local pilots moving forward.

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