Maldives does not have a single pilot capable of flying aircraft donated by India

Defence Minister of Maldives Ghassan Maumoon acknowledges

(From left) Maldives Defence Minister, PM Modi

Male (Maldives) – Maldives Defence Minister Ghassan Maumoon has acknowledged that there are no competent pilots in its army to fly the planes it received from India. Maumoon revealed this information during a press conference held here. He expressed concern over the current lack of skilled personnel to handle the two helicopters and one Dornier aircraft donated to the Maldivian National Defence Force by India.

Dornier aircraft donated by India (Credits : Economic Times)

1. Interestingly, Indian soldiers had trained the Maldivian Defence Force soldiers on these aircraft; however, none of them were able to successfully complete all stages of the training program.

2. On the other hand, India has withdrawn all its soldiers ahead of the deadline set by President Mohamed Muizzu to withdraw Indian soldiers from the country. Now Indian pilots have been replaced by civilians from India.

3. Ironically, during their time in opposition, leaders of the Muizzu Government frequently criticised previous administrations for relying on Indian soldiers. Claims such as, “The Maldivian Army has competent pilots. Yet the (then) Maldivian Government invites Indian soldiers to come to Maldives” were common among Muizzu and his supporters.

4. India had donated 2 helicopters to Maldives in 2010 and 2013 and a small aircraft in 2020. This sparked significant controversy within the Maldives, with the opposition, led by Muizzu, vehemently criticising then-President Solih, and accusing him of prioritising an ‘India First’ policy.

Editorial Perspectives

  • India should now teach a lesson to pro-China Maldivian Government.
  • Such incidents show how incapable the Maldivian Army is. India should now strategically engage and work towards aligning Maldives with its interests.