Source : News on Air
|Indian Navy Amphibious Landing Assault Craft ships with Indian Army Amphibious Brigade in an exercise in Andaman and Nicobar islands (File Photo)|
Taking the time-tested India-Maldives defence & security partnership to a notch higher, India has announced the supply of a second Landing Assault Craft (LCA) and a replacement ship for earlier provided CGS Huravee to bolster the maritime apparatus of Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).
Landing Craft Assault (LCA) is an amphibious naval vessel designed for transport of ground forces during amphibious assault operations. It can transport cargo/personnel from landing helicopter docks (LHD) to coastal areas.
India has also announced the gifting of ‘24 Utility Vehicles to continue the support for modernisation of MNDF infrastructure and equipment. Further, a grant assistance of $50 million Line of Credit facility has also been approved for carrying plethora of defense projects.
The decisions were taken in the 2nd August 2022 meeting between President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
“Prime Minister Modi announced supply of the second Landing Assault Craft (LCA) and a replacement ship for earlier provided CGS Huravee from Government of India for Maldives National Defence Force to Government of Maldives,” a Joint Statement by India-Maldives mentioned.
President Solih thanked Prime Minister Modi for India’s continuing support for modernisation of MNDF infrastructure and equipment, through grant assistance and the USD 50 mn Line of Credit facility for defense projects, the statement further mentioned.
Notably, India has rolled out a slew of assistance to Maldives including a USD 100 million line of credit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi exhorting that close defence and security coordination between the two sides is vital for peace and stability in the entire region.
The widening of India-Maldives defence ties
Recognizing that the security of India and the Maldives are interlinked, the two leaders agreed on energizing cooperation in maritime security, maritime domain awareness, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief through the implementation of underway projects and capacity building initiatives.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also reaffirmed India’s commitment to strengthen cooperation in line with India’s Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) vision.
Notably, Indian-Maldives are carrying strategic harbour projects viz pre-construction of the Coast Guard Harbour at SIFAVARU, which would assist the Government of Maldives in enhancing the capability of Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) in exercising jurisdiction and undertaking maritime surveillance of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and atolls.
India also helped Maldives in establishing the National College for Policing and Law Enforcement (NCPLE) at Addu City which was inaugurated in March 2022.
It is pertinent to note that, the two leaders welcomed the exchange of Buyers Credit Agreement for design and construction of 61 police infrastructures across Maldives that will contribute to improved access to policing and to ensure the safety and security of the communities in the islands.
To establish new horizons in the defence ecosystem, Maldives also hosted the 5th Meeting of Colombo Security Conclave in Male’ in March 2022 which witnessed membership expansion as well as addition of a new pillar – Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief – at Maldives’ initiative.
Tracing the genesis of India–Maldives defence ecosystem
Notably, a comprehensive action plan for Defence was also signed in April 2016 to consolidate defence partnership.India also provides the largest number of training opportunities for Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF), meeting around 70% of their defence training requirements.
It is noteworthy that India has trained over 1,400 MNDF trainees over the past 10 years and have offered 300 (Including SPG, NSG and MIO training) training vacancies in 2021-22.