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Indian navy ship INS Sutlej has arrived in the Maldives to conduct a hydrographic survey in Maldivian waters.
As part of the survey, Maldivian waters from Haa Dhaalu to Noonu Atoll will be surveyed from April 21 to May 15. The survey team that visited the Maldives on the Indian Navy ship Sutlej met with the Commander of the Coast Guard, Colonel Ibrahim Hilmy, and discussed how the survey will be conducted. The meeting was also attended by the Director-General of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) Brigadier General (Retired) Zakariyya Mansoor and senior officers of the Coast Guard.
Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) said the main objective of the survey is to ensure the safety of trade routes in the Maldives. MNDF also said updating the charts will help to identify new lagoons and shallow areas in the sea and reduce accidents.
Furthermore, MNDF noted the project will provide the information required to legalise insurance claims and expand the economy. Information related to coastal zone management required to assess the environmental impact of the Maldives can also be collected, MNDF also noted.
Moreover, the Government of India has donated some equipment to the Maldives as a grant aid under the India-Maldives Defence Cooperation Exchange.
As such, the Indian government donated some of the equipment required for hydrography surveys. The navigational chart prepared by the Joint Hydrographic Survey conducted in the northern part of the Maldives in 2021 was also handed over to the Maldives.
In addition, cheques for royalty money Maldives must receive from the charts sold by India were also handed over at the ceremony, as per the MoU signed for the Joint Hydrographic Survey.
Speaking after receiving the items, Chief of Defense Force Major General Abdulla Shamaal thanked the Indian government for their tremendous assistance. He said that over the years, relations between the two countries in the field of naval and maritime security have increased more than ever before and have gained momentum. Noting that the hydrographic partnership between the two countries play an important role in the trade development of the two countries, the Chief of Defence Force said so far a number of surveys have been carried out and positive results have been seen from the work commenced in 2007.
MNDF Coast Guard carries out the hydrographic survey with assistance from the National Hydrographic Department of India. During the first round of the survey, territorial waters of Haa Alifu, Haa Dhaalu and Shaviyani Atoll was surveyed.
The current navigational maps used in the Maldives has been in use since the 19th century.