Maldives has signed a deal with Turkey to procure modern recon drones to assist in surveillance of the vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Maldives and minimize its dependence on neighboring India.
The Government has just signed a USD 37 million deal with Turkey to purchase reconnaissance drones to patrol the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Maldives. This was previously done by India in partnership with the Maldives National Defense Forces (MNDF).
This decision follows the President’s deadline for all of Indian troops to leave the country. Included in this number is the pilots of two Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters and a Dornier aircraft. The helicopters were used for the transportation of patients from the outer islands to hospitals in the capital of Male’. The Dornier carried out reconnaissance flights to scout suspicious ships and track gun and narcotics trafficking operations.
The new drones being brought from Turkey will replace the operational function of the Dornier aircraft, while providing a more advanced method for scouting the sea.
This move is one among many that show the current administration’s determination to reduce the Maldives’ reliance on India. The Government recently announced programs which would see staple food items being brought from Turkey, along with a program to diversify the source of pharmaceuticals. In addition, the government’s national health insurance is being expanded to cover hospitals in the UAE and Thailand.