Maldives military has no pilots qualified to operate aircraft donated by India

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The Maldives military does not have pilots qualified to operate the three aircraft that India donated to the island nation, Defence Minister Ghassan Maumoon said during a local media briefing in Male on May 12, 2024.

“As it was a training that required passing various stages, our soldiers had not reached completion due to various reasons. Therefore, there aren’t any people in our force at the moment who are licensed or fully operational to fly the two helicopters and Dornier aircraft,” Maumoon was quoted by local media outlets to have said during the briefing.

India completely withdrew all 78 military personnel from the Maldives on May 10, 2024, the deadline given by new President Mohamed Muizzu for the Indian military to depart the island nation.

Since coming into power in November 2023, Muizzu entered into several agreements with China to boost economic ties, including a military assistance pact in March 2024. The pact allowed a Chinese research vessel to dock in a Maldivian port. 

Indian military personnel were stationed in the Maldives to train soldiers, an agreement made by previous administrations. Relations between the neighboring countries came under strain when Muizzu became president.

Muizzu is known to be pro-China and ran an “India Out” campaign during elections, saying that the presence of Indian military in the nation threatened Maldivian sovereignty.

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