Indian Defense Secretary Dr. Ajay Kumar has arrived in Maldives on an official visit as per the Sun online and paid a courtesy call on Maldivian Defense Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi on February 13.
Mariya noted expansion of India-Maldives defense cooperation over the last three years. She thanked India for its assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic with vaccine shipments, medical supplies, transportation of food supplies, and humanitarian assistance as per the Sunonline.
Mariya also thanked India for rendering technical support to the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF), including in over 170 medical evacuations and 130 surveillance missions over the past couple of years.
Mariya also expressed her appreciation for the Coast Guard Dockyard project, which she said is set to be the most comprehensive defense infrastructure development project carried out in Maldives.
The Coast Guard Dockyard project is at the Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF). Opposition leaders and former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has claimed that UTF is an Indian military base at a rally held at R. Meedhoo, as part of the opposition coalition's 'India Out' campaign.
He has been leading the India Out campaign which has no realistic basis claiming that Indian military personnel in five areas. "The government had kept saying there were no Indian military personnel. They later changed this to some personnel are there – but that it is to provide us with different technical expertise," he had said.
Maldives people recently rejected the loud calls by Yameen on India Out in a recent elections. Maldives ruling party the Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) convincingly won the Komandoo by-election.
Announcing the official results of the election on February 07, EC’ chairman Fuad Thaufeeq said the commission received nine election-related complaints. Fuad said that “The members of the Elections Commission certainly believe that compared to the events that took place during the presidential election, the by-election went very smoothly.”
Three candidates contested the Komandoo by-election; MDP’s Mohamed Rashid, Yameen’s Party the PPM’s Moosa Fathuhy and MNP’s Abdul Hannan Idrees.
The official results announced by EC on Monsay show Rashid won the election with 1,441 votes. His closest rival, Fathuhy won 1,161 votes, while Hannan won 323 votes.