The development of a key naval facility in the Maldives will end the practice of sending vessels abroad for maintenance and improve the nation’s maritime security capabilities, said Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid.
The harbor at Uthuru Thila Falhu base is being developed with a $50-million line of credit by India. The Phase 1 of UTF development consist of a special port for Coast Guard.
“The Maldives being a large ocean state, with our borders very porous, we need an effective surveillance and maritime operations, an effective Coast Guard. We do not have a proper hub to do the required maintenance of our boats. Every time, there needs to be maintenance or repair work, [the boat] has to be either taken to Sri Lanka or India,” said Minister Shahid in an interview.
“So, this facility would give us the required harbor facility to attend to such work,” he said, adding Maldivian personnel will be trained as part of the project. Besides strengthening the country’s capabilities, the Maldives is “making sure that our maritime security regiment is strengthened”.
Minister Shahid also addressed the criticism around India-Maldives collaboration in defense. “People try to target international cooperation because it is threatening their thinking, their way of life – which is undermining security, which is the deep state, which is terrorism, which is piracy, which is trafficking of narcotics.”