Helicopter landing in Thimarafushi was authorized and necessary for safety: Indian High Commission

15 May 2024 | 04:39
India gifted helicopter in Maldives (Photo/MNDF)

The Indian High Commission released a statement on Tuesday addressing concerns about an alleged unauthorized helicopter landing in the Maldives, which was discussed during a Maldivian government press conference on May 11, 2024.

The statement emphasized that the flight had the necessary approvals and was conducted in response to an emergency situation.

This clarification follows the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) disclosure that Indian military personnel operating helicopters gifted by India had conducted an unapproved flight during the administration of former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

The incident, which involved a helicopter making a landing in Thimarafushi without notifying the Maldivian military, was highlighted by current Minister of Defence Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon during a press conference.

When I was working in Parliament in the past five years, one issue we checked under the 241 Committee (Parliament's Committee on National Security Services) was the landing of this vehicle without approval. This was the Thimarafushi landing incident.

Minister Ghassan elaborated on the issue

Chief of Defence Force, Major General Ibrahim Hilmy, provided further details about the incident. 

The helicopter landed at Thimarafushi airport, and subsequently, Indian military personnel were instructed not to operate the vehicle without permission from MNDF. Helicopter Dornier can be flown only with military permission; it was informed to them

Chief of Defence Force, Major General Ibrahim Hilmy, added

Previously, the MNDF had denied multiple accusations regarding helicopters being operated without their approval during the last administration. However, the recent administration has taken significant steps to rectify the situation.

Seventy-six Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives have been sent back to India, and civilian employees from the company responsible for manufacturing the Indian-donated helicopters have arrived to replace them.

The command and control of the aircraft are now officially under the Defence Ministry and MNDF, and they cannot fly without permission from the Defence

Minister Ghassan emphasized the new control measures

The Indian High Commission's statement aims to clarify the circumstances of the 2019 incident and reaffirm that all operations were conducted with proper authorization and in adherence to safety protocols.