India Abroad

Maldives Crisis: Indian Armed Forces On Standby, Pending Political Directive

| February 7 , 2018 , 09:47 IST

A day after exiled former President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed reached out on Twitter asking for military aid from India in wake of the Emergency declared in the small island nation, the Armed forces are reportedly on standby for any contingency in the Maldives, pending political directive.

According to reports, the Armed forces, which keep a close watch on 'developments' in the entire neighbourhood are "prepared for any eventuality" and "deployment at short notice", whether they would be required to evacuate Indian tourists or conduct a military intervention.

"India also has some defence personnel in Maldives due to defence cooperation; our warships, aircraft and copters often patrol its exclusive economic zone," a source said to Times of India.

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In addition, the Indian Navy maintains a couple of warships on patrol of the western seaboard which can be diverted to the Maldives if required. India is also helping Maldives establish coastal surveillance radar system (CSRS) stations.

The Indian Air Force, meanwhile has the rugged C-130J "Super Hercules" and C-17 Globemaster-III, which can be used to swiftly airlift combat-ready troops and heavy payloads, and can be landed on small runways. The C-17s cam cross a distance of 4,200 km in a single trip, carrying loads of 70 tonnes.

India has in the past also come to the aid of Maldives in times of crisis. In 1988 during the Rajiv Gandhi government, Indian paratroopers and naval warships were rushed to the Maldives under 'Operation Cactus' to thwart a coup against the then president Abdul Gayoom.

The present crisis in the Maldives was triggered when the government ignored a directive of the Supreme Court issued on February 1, to release 'political prisoners', several lawmakers of the opposition. The release of the lawmakers would have resulted in the party of Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen losing its majority in the government. As protests erupted, President Yameed declared a 15-day state of emergency in the Maldives on February 5, and arrested the Chief Justice and another Supreme Court judge.