During the ongoing official visit to India by the Maldives’ Minister of Defence and National Security Colonel (Ret.) Mohamed Nazim, the Government of India has gifted a helicopter to the MNDF.
During the ceremony held at India’s Southern Naval Command in Kochin, the helicopter was ceremonially handed over by Vice Admiral Satish Soni, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command. The colours of the helicopter was unveiled by the Minister of Defence and National Security and the helicopter was received by Brigadier General Ali Zuhair on behalf of the MNDF.
The helicopter gifted by the Government of India is the latest variant of the Dhruv Advance Light Helicopter and is due to be deployed to Maldives in February 2014.
The Defence Minister during his visit to the Southern Naval Command also visited some Naval Schools, including the Navigation and Direction School, Anti-Submarine School, Warfare School and Signal School. The obtaining of a second helicopter for the MNDF is an objective of the defence sector under government’s initial 100 day action plan.
HeliHub.com editor comments – There is a very strong and strategic link between India and the Maldives which goes well beyond donating a couple of helicopters – for example, 16 MNDF personnel are currently undergoing training at India’s Southern Naval Command. The two Dhruv helicopters both appear to be flown mainly by Indian military crews and carry what appear to be Indian military serials. The first example flies with the Indian Coast Guard serial CG852, while the new one has an Indian Navy serial IN750. Clearly a nation as small as the Maldives would not get anywhere near those numbers in any series of military assets.
The first Dhruv already in operation with the Maldivian Coast Guard is based at the southern Maldivian island of Addu. The new helicopter, fitted with a weather radar, will operate from the northern Hannimadhoo Island, primarily on medical evacuation duty.
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