Civilian personnel from helicopter manufacturer to replace Indian military: Minister Zameer

11 May 2024 | 18:59
Minister of Foreign Affairs Moosa Zameer speaking at today's press conference

Minister of Foreign Affairs Moosa Zameer declared today that civilian employees from the company responsible for manufacturing the Indian-donated helicopters have arrived to take the place of the Indian military personnel previously stationed in the Maldives to operate the aircraft.

Speaking at a press conference jointly held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, and MNDF, Zameer confirmed the departure of all 76 Indian military personnel who had been tasked with operating the helicopters, in line with President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu's commitment.

Providing insights into the replacement civilians from India, Zameer clarified that they are employees of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the manufacturer of the gifted helicopters.

These civilians are employees of the helicopter manufacturer, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited

Minister stated

Addressing concerns about the impact of civilian operation on sovereignty or independence, Zameer emphasized that the long-term presence of another country's military is a concern for any nation.

However, under the president's commitment, they have been replaced with civilians and they would not affect the sovereignty. 

We haven't received any feedback suggesting that the presence of civilians affects the sovereignty of the country. In reality, the issue lies with military presence. There are many civilians from India, Sri Lanka, or Bangladesh working here, but that doesn't affect our independence. I don't believe citizens would perceive it differently,

Minister Zameer remarked

He further indicated that if such concerns persist among citizens, the government will carefully consider them.

Zameer disclosed that the number of arriving civilians matches the personnel they are replacing, and they will be stationed in the Maldives for an agreed-upon period, as mutually decided by both countries.

Minister of Defence Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon affirmed that the Maldives Government has verified the civilian status of the replacements for the Indian military personnel.

Ghassan added that the command and control of the aircraft are now officially under the Defence Ministry and MNDF, emphasizing that they cannot fly without permission from the Defence.