Maldives National Defence Force has denied reports that 40 Indian army officers were in Maldives to establish a Hydrography Unit and conduct surveys.
Chief Spokesperson of MNDF Major Ibrahim Azim said no activities related to hydrography are ongoing at the moment, and said no Indian army personnel were in the country to conduct surveys on hydrography.
While he acknowledged that Indian army will be assisting in establishing a hydrography unit, the surveys can be conducted mid next year at the earliest, said Azim.
MNDF's statements come a time when reports have been circulating about the arrival of 40 Indian army personnel to begin the surveys. The reports claim a sea vessel will soon be arriving in the Maldives for the purpose, which will subsequently be donated to the Maldives.
Referring to the claim, Azim said India will be donating an FIC patrol launch later this month under a grant aid, and said its details will be shared at a later time.
The establishment of a hydrography unit was discussed between the Chief of Defense Force Major General Abdulla Shamaal and India's Chief of Army General Bipin Rawat during his recent visit to the Maldives. Similar discussions took place between India and Maldives during the tenure of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom.
Hydrography is the branch of applied sciences which deals with the measurement and description of the physical features of oceans, seas, coastal areas and other water bodies. Its primary purpose is ensuring the safety of navigation and is in support of all other marine activities, including economic development, security and defence, scientific research, and environmental protection.