An Indian Navy ship has been deployed to undertake joint surveillance of exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Maldives, seen as a move to improve bilateral relationship between the two countries which nose-dived after imposition of emergency in the island nation.
The Indian Navy said its ship Sumedha, a naval offshore patrol vessel has been deployed to undertake the joint surveillance of EEZ of Maldives from May 9 to 17.
It “is an endeavour of the Government of India and the Indian Navy to ensure the safety and security of the vast EEZ of the island nation,” the Navy said.
It said the deployment has been made under its new ‘Mission Based Deployments’, a new plan for deployment of warships in the Indian Ocean region.
In February, Maldives had declined India’s invitation to participate in the eight-day mega naval exercise — Milan — from March 6-13.
Ties between India and Maldives nose-dived after Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen declared emergency on February 5 following an order by the country’s Supreme Court to release a group of Opposition leaders, who had been convicted in widely criticised trials.
On February 21, India had reacted strongly over the extension of emergency by a month. The emergency was lifted 45 days later.
The Navy said INS Sumedha would undertake an Operational Turnaround (OTR) at Male from May 11 to 12 during which Navy personnel on board the ship would interact and impart training to Maldives’ National Defence Forces (MNDF) personnel.
The Indian Navy said Sumedha would also embark MNDF personnel onboard and undertake joint EEZ surveillance of Maldives from May 12 to 15.
Two officers and eight sailors of the Indian Navy’s Marine Commando (MARCO) cadre are currently conducting the second Asymmetric Warfare Training Exercise ‘Ekatha 2018’ at Maldives, from Apr 28 to May 15.
The exercise is taking place at Composite Training Centre, Maafilhafushi, which is about 145 km north of Male.