Maldives Purchases Turkish Drones, Expands Defense Arsenal Amid Regional Shifts

Within days of the Maldives inking a defence deal to obtain non-lethal weapons from China, the archipelago nation in the Indian Ocean has acquired drones from Turkiye for patrolling its vast exclusive economic zone, according to a media report on Saturday. The Maldives government is likely to start operations of the drones within the next week.

However, the exact number of drones was not clear nor was there any official confirmation from the Maldives’ Ministry of Defence or Foreign Ministry, the report said. Pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu, upon his return from China, indicated that the government was looking to acquire surveillance drones.

“Military drones have been brought to the Maldives for the first time following an agreement by the current government with a Turkish company to purchase drones to patrol the country’s waters. The drones were delivered to the Maldives on March 3.

The drones are currently at Noonu Maafaru International Airport,” news portal Adhadhu said, quoting a senior government official involved in the matter.

Turkiye was the first foreign country visited by Muizzu after he was sworn in as president in November. However, the number of drones acquired from Turkiye under the agreement remains unclear even as the government official said the government is working to start operations of the drones within the next week, it said.

Stating that the government has not made any official comments regarding the drones,Adhadhi said it had, during a press conference on Wednesday, questioned whether the Maldives can operate such drones.

“But the Defence Ministry official declined to respond directly and said work is ongoing to strengthen the capabilities,” the news portal said.

It further quoted social media posts to claim that it was Turkiye company Baykar’s TB2 drones and equipment needed for the drones that were delivered to the Maldives. After returning from China in January, Muizzu made claims about his country’s defence without naming India.

Source: tribuneindia

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