India And Maldives Steps Up Defense Corporation
The president of Maldives Mr.
and the Indian Defense Minister A.K. Anthony after extensive meetings on different levels of both governments announced a series of steps both countries have taken to ensure safety and territorial sovereignty. Recent attacks of Somalian pirates in the far regions near the African coast has alerted countries as far away as Maldives.
Under the defense pact, joint Maldivian and Indian Navy and coast guard vessels will be patrolling the Maldivian Exclusive Economic Zone and the boarders of the Maldives. After the Mumbai attacks India has stepped up maritime surveillance around its territorial waters. Both Maldivian and Indian authorities stressed the importance of preventing possible terrorist attacks, earlier in the year the Maldivian coast guard with areal surveillance from the Indian Navy intercepted and sunk a suspected terrorist vessel smuggling weapons crossing the Maldivian Borders, its destination was believed to be Sri Lanka, but cannot be confirmed.
India has agreed to provide Maldives with coastal radars which would eventually be linked to a South Asian Seas Defense command post in India, currently Maldives has only two coastal radars protecting its twenty two Atolls. Further more a twenty-five bed Military hospital was also donated by the Indian Military, the Maldivian Defense Force has many doctors and specialists trained but currently lacks an official Military hospital. A press release from the MNDF (Maldivian National Defense Force) revealed that while this is a military hospital , civilians will also have the possibility of receiving treatment specially in emergency cases.
Maldives has also begun setting up an Air wing for its military. Primarily the air wing would provide surveillance and rescue operations. India has pledged technical assistance to train Maldivian pilots and maintenance crews while donating two helicopters to the Maldivian Defense Force. As Maldives is an island nation the importance of fast access to advanced medical facilities is crucial, currently sea planes are hired commercially for such medical evacuations to bring patients suffering from critical injuries and accident to hospitals and over seas.
Some critics say that this could jeopardize the sovereignty of Maldives both Indian and Maldivian authorities reassures that these are necessary steps to international anti -terrorism safety and there is definitely not going to be any interference from Indian authorities in Maldives. There has been some rising tensions in the region with China setting up a base in Sri Lanka which India has always viewed as its own back yard, and the defense pact with Maldives could be a step to re-establish themselves in the Indian Ocean. Maldives is a signatory to the non-aligned movement and enjoys excellent relations both commercially and diplomatically with both India and China.