The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) has failed to disclose what had been in several metal boxes that were loaded onto MNDF vehicles by men who belonged to the Indian military.
Photographs of several Indian soldiers loading large metal cases onto MNDF lorries circulated on social media within the past week. Following public concerns, a journalist had asked the MNDF’s media spokesperson what was in the boxes; the MNDF did not provide an answer.
The agreements signed between the Maldivian and Indian governments grant the Indian soldiers stationed throughout the Maldives immunity from Maldivian law; neither lodgings, possessions, or luggage can be checked or screened by Maldivian authorities, nor can they be prosecuted by a Maldivian court.
Although the MNDF had declined to respond to questions about the contents of the metal boxes, a Maldivian computer scientist, Dr Nash Rafeeq, opined on Twitter that the boxes may be signal interception kits. Such kits have the capability to listen in on and monitor messages sent between communication devices.
Many have accused the Indian military personnel of engaging in and participating in espionage in the Maldives.
India’s intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) is one of the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies. It had recently come to light that RAW had been spying on private Indian citizens and politicians.