An Indian naval ship is carrying out joint surveillance of the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Maldives.
Ahead of the surveillance operation from May 12 to 15, the Sumedha offshore patrol vessel conducted training for Maldives National Defence Force personnel during the weekend.
“The Joint EEZ surveillance of Maldives is an endeavour of the Government of India and the Indian Navy to ensure the safety and security of the vast EEZ of the island nation,” the Indian navy said in a statement.
Indian media speculated that the joint exercise signals a thaw in bilateral relations, which was strained after a state of emergency was declared in February. The Maldives took the extraordinary step of directly rebuking New Delhi after it expressed “deep dismay” about the parliament’s extension of emergency rule.
More recently, Indian officials told the media that proposed joint monitoring exercises between Maldives and Pakistan would be a red line for New Delhi following the visit of Pakistan’s army chief to the Maldives.
According to the Indian navy, a training exercise dubbed Ekatha 2018 has been underway since April 28 with two officers and eight sailors of the Indian Navy’s Marine Commando (MARCO).
“The exercise is being held at Composite Training Centre, Maafilhafushi, which is about 145 km North of Malé,” it said.
“During the exercise training on various diving related issues including use and maintenance of diving equipment, medical emergencies, etc, are being imparted to MNDF personnel.”