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Amid Strained Relations with India, Maldives Deploy Bayraktar TB2 Drone from Turkey

In the aftermath of requesting the withdrawal of Indian forces from its territory, the Maldives has announced the acquisition of the Bayraktar TB2 drone from Turkey to monitor its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — In the aftermath of requesting the withdrawal of Indian forces from its territory, the Maldives has announced the acquisition of the Bayraktar TB2 drone from Turkey to monitor its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The Maldivian government aims to deploy the Bayraktar TB2 drone, developed by Turkey’s Baykar Technology, to surveil its 900,000 square kilometers EEZ, thereby enhancing its maritime monitoring capabilities.

It is believed that the high-powered drone was obtained by the Maldivian government on March 3 and is operational from the Maafaru International Airport in the Noonu Atoll.

In addition to the Turkish drone, the Maldives government is planning to procure drones from China for similar purposes following the recent visit of their new president to China.

The Maldives’ acquisition of the Bayraktar TB2 drone from Turkey is likely to be met with disapproval from India, given the strained relations between New Delhi and Ankara.

Maldives

 Recently, the Maldives directed approximately 80 Indian military personnel to leave the country before May, fulfilling a promise made by its newly elected president, Mohamed Muizzu.

India had stationed these personnel in the Maldives to operate and maintain helicopters and light aircraft donated for search and rescue operations on the islands.

 Muizzu, perceived as pro-China, assumed the presidency in November through a campaign emphasizing “India Out.”

New Delhi is making concerted efforts to maintain its influence in the strategically crucial Maldives, situated near the Indian Ocean, even as the island nation is courted by China with investments and economic aid. China, too, is keen on improving its relations with the Maldives.

Recently, the Maldivian government permitted the Chinese research vessel “Xiang Yang Hong 3” to dock in its ports for the replenishment of supplies.

 India, however, is displeased with the presence of this research vessel, alleging that its primary function is to collect information and data for Chinese submarine operations, a claim vehemently denied by China.

INS Jatayu
India newly-commissioned naval base “INS Jatayu” near Maldives.

 

In response to the Maldives’ request for Indian forces to leave and its close ties with China, India hastily reinforced its naval base on Minicoy Island in the Lakshadweep Islands, not far from the Maldives.

This newly established Indian naval base, named INS Jatayu, is equipped with radar facilities, warships, and the “BrahMos” guided missile system.

It is intended to serve as a strategic military facility for monitoring China’s expanding influence in the Indian Ocean and the movements of naval vessels in this strategically vital region.

In recent years, China has strengthened its ties with littoral states in the Indian Ocean, constructing port facilities for civilian and military use. — DSA

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