Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) has said five Indian vessels are active in Maldivian waters to conduct a joint hydrographic survey with the island nation's government.
MNDF disclosed the information after multiple reports of Indian navy vessels being sighted in Maldivian waters. While the opposition is leading a now-banned 'India Out' campaign calling to send back Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives, India-related interactions are now scrutinized and questioned by the public.
MNDF's Chief Spokesperson Saturday said five Indian vessels are actively participating in the hydrographic survey being carried out by MNDF and the Indian navy to revise and correct nautical charts of the Maldives. This includes a navy ship and four small boats, he said. The vessels are active in Male' atoll, HDh. and Sh. atoll.
On April 18, MNDF announced that an Indian navy ship had arrived in the Maldives to participate in the hydrographic survey. At the time, MNDF had said the survey would be carried out from April 21 to May 15, covering the area between HDh. atoll and N. atoll.
The hydrographic surveys in the Maldives have been carried out in the Maldives since 2007, together with India's National Hydrographic Office. The survey updates the geographical charts, GPS, and electronic charts and facilitates the production of anchorage and approach charts. MNDF said the surveys would increase the safety of travelers and prevent common maritime accidents such as vessels running aground on reefs, thereby decreasing the loss incurred by seafarers. The surveys would help legalize insurance claims and collect the necessary information to expand the economy while assisting in coastal zone management and assessing environmental damages.