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India finishes phase one of Maldives radar system

A top official said, “It would be very beneficial for Maldives National Defence Forces to track ships and fishing boats and would provide added security in the Maldives Exclusive Zone.”

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi |
August 26, 2015 2:52:52 am

With an eye on maritime threats, India has finally finished the first phase of a security umbrella being built in Maldives with the installation of the third coastal radar system in the island country. The development assumes significance in the wake of increased Chinese naval activity in the Indian Ocean region.

Indian officials in Male confirmed to The Indian Express that with the third radar in place, the first phase of setting up a robust coastal radar system in Maldives was now complete.

A top official said, “It would be very beneficial for Maldives National Defence Forces to track ships and fishing boats and would provide added security in the Maldives Exclusive Zone.”

The first radar was fitted at the southernmost Addu city’s Gan island in 2007, but New Delhi took a serious note of maritime security threats after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack and re-evaluated its strategic needs.

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After the assessment, a second radar was installed in the northern island of Uligamu in 2012. Following this, governments changed in Male and New Delhi. While Abdulla Yameen’s government took over in 2013, Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014.

Officials said that although there was a “re-calibration” of ties between the two countries, New Delhi and Male agreed to go-ahead on the strategic plane.

They said that despite a perceptible shift in Yameen government —as it is seen to be shifting towards China — Male had assuaged New Delhi on strategic concerns. This, claimed officials, formed the backdrop of the installation of the third radar system in the central island of Kadhdhoo. “Last week, the third radar system was handed over to the Maldivian armed forces,” an official said.

Engineers from India’s Bharat Electronics Limited undertook the installation and operationalisation of the radar and the Automatic Identification System system. The system provides all-weather 24-hour coverage of the sea area adjoining Laamu.

While the first phase was over, India now planned to establish additional “seven radars and AIS stations” as part of the second phase of the project. On completion of the project, Maldives would have all round coverage of the sea areas around the country, officials said.

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