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Maldives Minister Ghassan Maumoon says country's pilots are not capable to operate three aircraft donated by India
Maldives
Maldives Defence Minister Ghassan Maumoon. Photo Courtesy: Ghassan Maumoon X page

Maldives Minister Ghassan Maumoon says country's pilots are not capable to operate three aircraft donated by India

| @indiablooms | 13 May 2024, 10:26 am

A day after the last Indian personnel left the island nation, Maldives’s Defence Minister Ghassan Maumoon has admitted that its military pilots are not capable of operating the three aircraft donated by India.

"There aren't any people licenced to fly the aircraft," Defence Minister Maumoon was quoted as saying by India Today.

Meeting the deadline set by Maldivian authorities as per an agreement reached between the two countries, Indian military personnel who were stationed in the Island Nation to operate the helicopters and a Dornier aircraft, left Male and returned to India on Friday.

Diplomatic tensions reached a flashpoint in recent times between the two countries over remarks made by some Maldives ministers against Indian PM Narendra Modi's visit to Lakshadweep, to promote the Indian Union Territory having the potential to compete with tourism major Maldives.

Last month, pro-China Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu's People’s National Congress (PNC) took control of the Parliament by winning the election clinching over 60 of the total 93 seats, highlighting the Island Nation's further tilt towards India's hostile rival China.

The Maldives, which comprises some 1,192 tiny coral islands scattered across 800 kilometres (500 miles) on the equator, is considered as one of the top beach destinations in the world.

Apart from its scenic beauty, the country is known for its luxury hotels and water villas.

The pro-China Maldivian President faced massive domestic criticism for his anti-India stance as the main opposition parties of the country, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the Democrats, slammed Muizzu for distancing from India, the island nation's "most long-standing ally" and source of tourists.

Besides expressing concern over the new foreign policy of Muizzu-led government in Maldives, the opposition parties took to the street in January in protest.

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