India to base anti-piracy patrol plane in Maldives

The Indian Navy plane will operate from Male and will stay there for three weeks, a Navy spokesperson said here Tuesday.

Last Updated: Oct 18, 2011, 21:33 PM IST

New Delhi: India will base a Dornier maritime patrol aircraft in the Maldives from Wednesday to carry out surveillance of the Indian Ocean island nation`s exclusive economic zone and also maintain an anti-piracy vigil in its waters.

The Indian Navy plane will operate from Male and will stay there for three weeks, a Navy spokesperson said here Tuesday.

India has been sending a warship or a naval plane to perform security roles for Maldives in the last two years, with Somali pirates becoming active close to island nation.

It has also gifted a fast attack craft to the Maldivian maritime forces. India serviced the craft and returned it to the Maldives.

An Indian Navy ship also carries out hydrography surveys in Maldivian waters to aid navigation. Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has also set up a chain of coastal radars for the island nation, apart from training its personnel in operating the equipment.

The assistance is provided by India as a goodwill gesture towards its neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region and is in consonance with what Defence Minister AK Antony told naval commanders during their conference last week.

"The Indian Navy has been mandated to be a net security provider to the island nations in the Indian Ocean Region. We would like to assure our maritime neighbours about our unstinted support for their security and economic prosperity," Antony had said.

Similar assistance is provided by India to Mauritius too, with a speedboat being gifted to the Mauritian maritime force by the Indian Navy. A coastal radar chain and automated identification system too have been set up by India in Mauritius for maritime surveillance of the island nation.

Mauritius has also placed an order for an offshore patrol vessel with Kolkata-based defence shipyard Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers.

India has also gifted a fast attack craft to the Seychelles. It was involved in anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean a few months ago.

IANS