The Ministry of Defence has embarked on a comprehensive plan to equip the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) with state-of-the-art platforms and resources. The initiative aims to enhance the capabilities and preparedness of the MNDF, ensuring they have access to the latest technologies and resources for national security and civil defence purposes.

The defence ministry’s announcement follows a report by a local media outlet suggesting that the MNDF had entered into a procurement agreement with a private company in Türkiye for military drones. The deal, not referenced in a statement by the defence ministry, is reportedly valued at MVR 560 million.

The ministry emphasised the constitutional mandate of the defence forces, highlighting their duty to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty, protect citizens from both foreign and domestic threats, and offer assistance during disasters and maritime incidents.

The international conventions to which the Maldives is a signatory obligate the MNDF to combat maritime crimes, protect the Maldives’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and conduct rescue operations in naval incidents, the ministry said.

“As the Commander-in-Chief of the MNDF, President Mohamed Muizzu underscores the importance of equipping the institution to fulfil its duties, particularly in an evolving security landscape, and emphasises preparedness for any contingencies,” the statement read.

The decision to procure any equipment, platforms, and resources for the MNDF is made by the National Security Council (NSC), which the President chairs. The NSC comprises the Vice President, Attorney General, four cabinet ministers, and the Chief of Defence Forces.

The ministry stated that, as part of the NSC’s mandate to ensure the delivery of the MNDF’s military and civil responsibilities, the ministry is actively seeking the required equipment, platforms, and resources. However, the ministry refrained from disclosing details of the equipment, platforms, and resources it seeks.

It is noteworthy that the MNDF’s pursuit of new military and defence equipment coincides with the Muizzu administration’s efforts to remove the presence of the Indian military from the Maldives. At the inaugural meeting of the India-Maldives High-Level Core Group, the Maldives requested that India withdraw its troops from the Maldives by 15 March.