India sends naval ship to Maldives to mend ties

INS Sumedha was sent to the Maldives earlier this week to carry out a joint surveillance of the exclusive economic zone.

India has dispatched one of its naval ships to the Maldives in what may be seen as a fresh effort to mend ties with the island nation and bring back warmth in bilateral relations.

A naval offshore patrol vessel, INS Sumedha, was sent to the Maldives earlier this week to carry out a joint surveillance of the exclusive economic zone.

The ship would undertake an operational turnaround at Male on May 11-12 during which the crew would interact and impart training to Maldives' National Defence Forces personnel, said a navy spokesperson.

The MNDF personnel will embark and undertake joint EEZ surveillance of the Maldives between May 12-15. They would disembark at Male, on completion of EEZ surveillance.

In addition, two officers and eight sailors of the Indian Navy's Marine Commando cadre were sent to the Maldives to conduct an asymmetric warfare training exercise, Ekatha 2018, between April 28 and May 15. Interestingly, the exercise began on April 28 coinciding with the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

INS Sumedha, after completing its task will bring back the Indian naval personnel from the Composite Training Centre, Maafilhafushi, which is about 145 km North of Male.

The new naval engagement comes weeks after bilateral relations between the two neighbours nosedived, with New Delhi expressing "deep dismay" on the imposition and extension of the State of Emergency by Indian Ocean archipelago and Male reciprocated by not sending its ships to Milan multilateral naval exercise in the Andaman.

Introducing fresh air in bilateral relations, Indian Ambassador Akhilesh Mishra on May 6-7 witnessed the training exercise in which MNDF personnel were trained on diving related issues like use and maintenance of diving equipment and associated medical emergencies.

Apprehending growing Chinese influence in the island nation, India earlier tacitly asked the communist nation to play a constructive role in the Maldives instead of doing just the opposite.

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India sends naval ship to Maldives to mend ties

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