Minister of Defence Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon has revealed that the Indian government cited ‘miscommunication’ as the reason for the incidents of Indian military personnel boarding local fishing vessels within the Maldives Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which occurred on 31 January and 1 February.

Answering questions in Parliament, Minister Ghassan revealed that official communications from India confirmed that the boarding actions resulted from misunderstandings. 

According to Ghassan, the Indian military’s operations in the area on the specified dates were not duly communicated to the Maldivian military, leading to the unexpected encounters at sea.

The minister further explained that the Indian soldiers initiated the boardings to verify the presence of satellite communication devices on the fishing vessels. The use of such devices, according to the information provided by the boarding teams, was deemed a violation by the Indian military; however, this practice is permissible within Maldivian maritime boundaries. 

Ghassan highlighted the discrepancy in regulations between the two countries, noting that what is considered a violation within Indian borders is allowed in the Maldives.

Additionally, it was confirmed that during these boardings within the Maldivian EEZ, Indian personnel deleted photographs and videos taken by local fishermen, which documented the soldiers’ conduct on the vessels. Minister Ghassan reassured parliament that all three vessels were operating legitimately within Maldivian territorial waters at the time of the incidents.