Diplomacy Politics

Choppers must go, says Maldives

There has been no movement on the issue of Indian helicopters in the Maldives, said official sources, denying recent reports that the government of President Abdullah Yameen had softened its stand and allowed the helicopters and their crews to stay on.

“The stories are simply not true,” said a senior diplomatic source from Male.

The Maldivian government’s three-month-old demand, that India remove two helicopters and about 28 Naval personnel and pilots, whose visas expired in June, has not been renewed by the Yameen government, he added.

India gifted the helicopters to the Maldives in 2013 for coastguard surveillance as well as medical evacuations in the strategically located islands, and withdrawing them will be seen as a blow to India’s presence there. The MEA declined to comment.

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