The Parliament’s Committee on National Security Services, also known as the 241 Committee, has decided to question Minister of Defence Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon regarding the Indian coastguard’s boarding of Maldivian fishing boats within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The 241 Committee is empowered by Article 241 of the Constitution, which requires the Parliament establish a committee to oversee the operations of the security services. Furthermore, the committee should include representation from all the different political parties within the legislative body.

The committee’s main responsibilities are to monitor the functioning of the security services, examine national security issues and submit any changes to national security policies to Parliament.

Armed Indian coastguard personnel boarded Maldivian fishing vessels while they were well within the nation’s northern territory, in Haa Alif Atoll, on 31 January and 1 February.

They boarded Asurumaa 3, Niru 7, and Maahoara 3, and searched the vessels while issuing instructions to the crew over whom they have no legal jurisdiction. Audio from the video captures the voices of fishermen and crew, urging Indian officials to leave the vessels and highlighting the MNDF Coastguard’s stance that the boarding was unlawful.

Videos also captured armed Indian coastguard officers moving around the vessels, with an Indian Coastguard vessel clearly visible.

The MNDF Coastguard rushed to the area after receiving at least one such report but by the time they had arrive the Indian Coastguard had left the scene. The MNDF is now monitoring the area as a matter of special priority, they said.

While the Maldives has officially asked for an explanation, India has so far failed to provide a response.