The Maldives Journal has been informed that India refused to respond to Minister of Defense Mariya Didi's official request for drone technology for the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF).
TMJ has received a copy of the letter Minister Mariya sent to the High Commissioner of India to Maldives Sunjay Sudhir on December 2, 2020. Mariya mentioned two key points in the letter. First, her request to obtain a loan of USD 50 million to develop the defense sector, discussed during a meeting with the Foreign Secretary of India Harsh Vardhan Shringla from November 8 to November 10, 2020.
Second, the request to acquire drone technology to strengthen the security, intelligence, and surveillance of MNDF, discussed with National Security Advisor of India Ajit Doval during the Trilateral Meeting on Maritime Security Cooperation from November 27 to November 28, 2020.
Minister Mariya requested Sunjay Sudhir to relay the requests to relevant authorities in India as soon as possible. The USD 50 million loan requested by the defense ministry has already been approved, to develop Uthuru Thila Falhu in collaboration with Indian military forces.
A senior MNDF official informed TMJ that India has yet to respond to the request for drone technology. When questioned by TMJ regarding the matter, Minister Mariya refused to comment.
India has been aiding Maldives in the defense sector only in ways that benefit India. If Maldives is granted the drone technology, it will be difficult for India to operate the helicopters established to monitor the waters of Maldivian territory.