India to hold naval defence exercise with Sri Lanka, Maldives

The Indian Coast Guard is to take part in an exercise with its Maldivian and Sri Lankan counterparts starting Monday, India Today reported.

This is India’s first defence engagement with Maldives after the new administration came to power there and openly said that it prefers India over China. Coast Guard chief Rajendra Singh would be present in Male along with Indian ships, including the advanced offshore patrol vessel ICGS Samar and fast patrol vessel ICGS Aryaman.

While Sri Lanka would be represented by coast guard vessel SLCGS Raksha, coast guard ship Huravee would join the exercise representing Maldives. All the ships would be taking part in the exercise along the island nation, where drills would be carried out for security from all kinds of threats.

It is worth mentioning that the Sri Lankan vessel was earlier a part of the Indian Coast Guard while the Maldivian ship was recently overhauled at an Indian shipyard-a measure undertaken to boost the capabilities of its ally nations in the neighbourhood.

In addition, two other Sri Lankan navy officers will receive training in India to embark onto ICGS Samar from Kochi that will leave for the Maldives. The coast guard will subsequently drop them off at Colombo after the exercise concludes.

India would be hoping to continue its momentum at Maldives, following a major diplomatic victory over China in the Indian Ocean Region as it became the “tallest friend” of the new establishment in Maldives.

The anti-Chinese sentiment also came from the new administration’s backers including the former Maldivian President Mohammed Nasheed, who already stated that there would be a forensic audit of the Chinese-supported infrastructure projects that resulted in huge debts.

Other than that, the defeat of Abdulla Yameen, who was working closely with China and against the Indian interests in Male, is also being observed as a major victory for India in its neighbourhood, which is being poached by the Chinese for creating strategic outposts on the world’s busiest sea lanes for trade and commerce.