The Maldives has asked India to withdraw by the end of June the two military helicopters it was gifted by New Delhi in 2012-13 for coastal surveillance, reconnaissance, logistics, and search-and-rescue missions.
Official Indian sources told Jane’s on 13 June that the Maldives has refused to extend the letters of exchange (LoEs) for the two Indian-designed Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters (ALHs) operated from the archipelago’s Laamu and Addu atolls by six Indian Navy (IN) and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) pilots.
One of the LoEs elapsed in May while the other one is due to expire by 30 June.
The government of Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen has also declined to renew not only the pilots’ visas but also those of about 10-12 Indian technicians responsible for maintaining the ALHs, which were gifted by New Delhi to the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).
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