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NEW DELHI: The Armed forces are on standby for any
contingency in the Maldives+
, from evacuation of Indian tourists to military intervention in the archipelago, but there is no political directive to swing into action as yet.
Sources on Tuesday said the armed forces, which keep a close watch on
“developments” in the entire neighbourhood+
, were “prepared for any eventuality” and “deployment at short notice”.
The Indian Navy always has a couple of warships on patrol on the western seaboard, which can be diverted to Maldives if required. “India also has some defence personnel in Maldives due to defence cooperation; our warships, aircraft and copters often patrol its exclusive economic zone,” a source said.
India is also helping Maldives establish coastal surveillance radar system (CSRS) stations,” the source added. In any case, a certain number of troops, warships and aircraft are always kept ready to swiftly render humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to other countries in the region.
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The IAF has the rugged C-130J “Super Hercules” and C-17 Globemaster-III, which can swiftly airlift heavy loads and combat-ready troops. Capable of landing at small runways, the four-engine C-17s can transport a 70-tonne load to a distance of 4,200-km in a single hop, while the smaller C-130J is capable of airlifting 20 tonnes.
India, on its part, has always been willing to aid Maldives in times of crisis. As far back as 1988, for instance, Indian paratroopers and naval warships were rushed to Maldives by the Rajiv Gandhi government under ‘Operation Cactus’ to thwart the coup attempt against the then Abdul Gayoom government by a group of Maldivians led by Abdullah Luthufi and assisted by over 60 armed mercenaries from a Lankan Tamil separatist outfit.