The Indian Navy has deployed a Dhruv light helicopter to the Maldives in order to assist the island nation with maritime surveillance. The helicopter will be transferred to the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) by year-end.
The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Dhruv Mk III was deployed on 27 April, along with a 33-member team that included officers and technicians, according to the Indian Navy.
The Navy said the helicopter will be based on Kadhdhoo island on the archipelago’s Laamu Atol in central Maldives and would support MNDF communication, logistics, search and rescue and casualty evacuation missions.
During the deployment, the Indian Navy will train Maldives pilots and technicians how to operate and maintain the aircraft before they take the helicopter over.
India has in the past assisted the Maldives with military equipment and has already donated Dhruv helicopters to the country. A second Dhruv was handed over in December 2013.
The Indian Navy has trained MNDF personnel since 1988.
India is making sure it supports maritime security in the region and last month deployed a P-8I maritime patrol aircraft to the Seychelles to monitor that nation’s exclusive economic zone. The Indian Navy usually patrols the country’s exclusive economic zone with ships, with the last such deployment in October 2015. The March 20 deployment of the P-8I was the first time the aircraft has been to the Seychelles.
India bought eight P-8I aircraft from Boeing for $2.1 billion.