NEW DELHI: A 13-year-old Maldivian child died because of a delay in providing him treatment that was caused by the alleged hesitation of the Maldivian government to use Indian choppers for medical evacuation, according to the Maldivian media.
India had earlier gifted Maldives two naval choppers and a Dornier aircraft for medical evacuation and other High Availability Disaster Recovery (HARD) activities.
According to reports in the local media, the child, who couldn’t be brought to capital Male from Gaafu atoll in time, died later. The family attributed the death to the delay in his airlift to Male.
The fate of Indian choppers and aircraft has been left in lurch because of Maldivian government’s insistence on expelling Indian military troops responsible for operations and maintenance of these assets.
President Mohamed Muizzu has set March 15 as a deadline for India to pull out its all 79 troops , stationed in the Indian Ocean archipelago even though the Indian officials say that talks are still on to find a “workable” solution to the issue.
Responding to the criticism for not using Indian choppers, Maldives defence minister Mohamed Ghassan said 93 per cent of evacuations were still being carried out by Maldivian Airlines. “The SOPs (standard operation procedures) of medical operations do not require notifying or seeking permission from the President. That is something done through the coordination of relevant institutions,” Ghassan said in a post on social media X.
It’s a tough situation as our country does not want to evacuate to watch our interests, but China wants India to evacuate.