The two Indian military helicopters are to temporarily remain in Maldives, reports an Indian news outlet.
In an article on Sunday, The Time of India cited diplomatic and military sources saying that the gifted helicopters will stay back along with the crew and support staff for at least the next few months as talks between the two countries continue.
After the lease agreement expired, Maldives has stated that it wishes to return the helicopters. However, after several rounds of talks, there has been indication from Maldives of its willingness to keep the two helicopters along with the 48-member crew and support staff, The Times of India cited its sources as saying.
Decades-long relations between the two countries have deteriorated because of China’s growing influence in Maldives and India’s disapproval of the Maldives political situation. Yet, The Times of India cited the sources saying that talks between the countries have been positive and that Maldives is extending visas of the Indian team in charge of the helicopters.