Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, India’s state-owned aircraft manufacturer, has delivered the Dornier Do-228 plane to the Maldives that the Indian government had decided to transfer to the island nation as a gift.
In a post on Twitter, the Maldives National Defence Force said the aircraft has been gifted by the Indian government “on the initiation of the Government of the Maldives”. The aircraft will be used for “ safeguard fishing, search & rescue, combat transnational crimes & render critical humanitarian assistance.”
The successful transfer of the aircraft underlines that the relations between India and the Maldives are back on track after the ouster of the government led by Abdulla Yameen, under whom the country grew closer to China.
In 2018, under Yameen’s rule, the Maldives has asked India to take back one of the two naval helicopters deployed by New Delhi in the country as a gift. At the same time, the Yameen’s government had said it wanted a Dornier aircraft. It had suggested that New Delhi had agreed to give the Dornier but hadn’t.
India, however, had called out Yameen’s bluff. Back then (2018), Indian government officials said that the letter of exchange for deployment of Dornier aircraft had been pending with the Yameen government since 2016.