Maldives acquires surveillance drones from Turkey

Maldives has, for the first time, acquired surveillance drones from Turkiye for patrolling its vast exclusive economic zone, Turkish media reports.

According to the report, efforts have begun by the state to establish a drone base in Noonu atoll Maafaru to operate the military drones brought from Turkiye to conduct monitoring of Maldives’ ocean territories.

Turkiye was the first foreign country visited by Mohamed Muizzu after he was sworn in as President in November.

During his visit, he had seen the various military vehicles produced by the country and formed an agreement with a Turkish company to import military drones into his country, the report said.

However, the Maldives government has not disclosed the details of the agreement so far.

The surveillance drones from the Turkish company Baykar TB2 drones were delivered on March 3, reports said.

Pro-Beijing President Muizzu, upon his return from China in January, had indicated that the government was looking to acquire surveillance drones.

On March 4, Muizzu also announced that his country is working to establish a 24/7 monitoring system for the Maldivian waters this month to ensure control of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) despite its significantly large area.

Adhadhu news portal also reported that earlier this year, the President’s Office has amended the Import Duty Waiver Procedure to give the President the discretion to remove import duties on items for use by the security services.

“This is believed to be an amendment to the rules to facilitate the purchase of military drones,” it said.