Indian Special Forces on Standby for Maldives Air Drop, Tanks Await Orders


Maldives is witnessing a crises and the Indian armed forces has been put on standby for any eventuality relating to the evacuation of  the Indian tourists to military intervention in the archipelago, however, currently there have been no political direction for action yet.

A “few tanks”, besides small arms and mortars are part of the weaponry of the 400-600 Indian army soldiers. The armed forces are keeping a close watch around the neighbourhood and are prepared for any eventuality in case of uncertain “developments”.

A unit of the army’s Special Forces has led the Indian troops, on standby at present, at the IAF’s Yelahanka airbase since Monday evening. The situation broke after the President Abdulla Yameen declared a 15 day state of emergency in Maldives.


To deal with the intense political crises in that country, the exiled former Maldives President, Mohamed Nasheed appealed for military and diplomatic intervention from New Delhi. He currently heads the Maldives Democratic Party functioning out of Colombo.

If Indian troops get in, they would:

  1. Counter the sparking political chaos and instability and restore order in Maldives.
  2. Just like 1988, New Delhi’s approval for army for operation in Maldives would repeat its act of aid for an ally.
  3. The role of India with an airborne and ground operation in the Indian Ocean would give a power full message to China and Pakistan to have acted in its self- interest.

A few sources from the Defence Ministry have said that the Indian troops will fly over the Indian Ocean by IAF’s Boeing C-17 Globemater IIIs and Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft, standing ‘ready’ at Yelahanka, whenever the army receives a signal to go.

“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.

The Indian Navy always has a certain number of troops, warships and aircraft ready on patrol on the western seaboard which could be diverted for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to neighbouring countries.

The 24 hour- wait suggests that Indians, though prepared, would not indulge in quick action but rather observe with caution before going for the diplomacy to clear the crises.

The situation sparked after the declaration of emergency in Maldives led the Supreme Court to order the release of nine opposition political leaders on the bases of “flawed” arrest and trail. This in turn had Yameen to defy the Supreme Court’s order and the arrest of the Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed, heating the crises in the country.

The military also being an option, Indian observers feel that 400-600 troops on standby will be ‘sufficient’ to counter 5,000-10,000 men in Maldives armed forces.

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