Naval vessels from India and Sri Lanka have arrived in the Maldives for the longstanding joint naval exercise among the three neighbours.

According to the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), vessels from both nations will remain in the Maldives until the conclusion of the “Dosti-16” drill on 25 February.

Apart from India and Sri Lanka, Bangladeshi observers are also taking part in this year’s exercises.

Dosti is a trilateral naval exercise aimed at ensuring the safety and security of Indian Ocean territories, initiated in 1991 and held biennially.

This year, the drill comes at a time of heightened diplomatic tensions between the Maldives and India, following an unauthorised military intrusion by armed Indian naval forces into Maldivian territorial waters.

The parliament is probing the incident, and the government of the Maldives has formally requested a written explanation from India for the incidents that occurred at the end of January 2024.