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Nov 19, 2018
7:26PM

Two helicopters gifted by India will remain in Maldives

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Maldives new Defence Minister has said that the two helicopters gifted by India will remain in Maldives. 
 
Mariya Ahmed Didi, who was sworn in on Saturday, told a news channel that it is not in their culture to ask neighbours to take back what they give. 
 
She added that the helicopters can be put to good use such as evacuations and search and rescue operations. 
 
The comments assume significance as Maldives requested India to take back the two helicopters during the former regime of Abdulla Yameen. 
 
The government was even refusing to renew the visas of personnel deployed for its operations and maintenance. India had gifted the Dhruv helicopters in 2013 following a request from Maldives. 
 
They were primarily used for emergency medical evacuation and to conduct search and rescue operations over water. 
 
The new administration of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has asserted that it will be working to improve bilateral relations with India. 
 
Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid will be visiting New Delhi next week in preparations for state visit of Mr. Solih. 

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