K. Male'
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21 Feb 2021 | Sun 15:49
MNDF UTF Harbor Development Project agreement signing held on Sunday
MNDF UTF Harbor Development Project agreement signing held on Sunday
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MNDF UTF Harbor Development
Maldives signs agreement with India for MNDF UTF Harbor Development Project
 
MNDF confirms UTF harbor is not a military base, and that no foreign military personnel will be active at the site
 
The harbor will be used to dock, maintain Coast Guard vessels at home, will drastically reduce operational costs for MNDF
 
The MNDF Coast Guard Harbor will be developed at Uthuru Thila Falhu with aid from India

Minister of Defense Mariya Ahmed Didi has signed an agreement with India's External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar for the development of an MNDF Coast Guard Harbor at Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF), which will be used to dock and maintain Coast Guard vessels in the Maldives upon completion of the project.

The agreement was signed between Maldives and India as part of a series of India-aided development projects being inaugurated in the Maldives during Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar's two day official visit to the island nation. The Harbor and dockyard being developed in Maldives with aid from India is part of the "Defense Action Plan on Defense Cooperation" signed between Maldives and India in 2016, during then-President AbdullaYameen's first official trip to India

MNDF leaders conducted a press conference following the signing to clarify doubts with regards to India's role in the harbor's development. At the conference, Vice-Chief of Defense Force Brigadier General Abdul Raheem Abdul Latheef confirmed that the harbor was not a military base, and will be used to dock, maintain and repair MNDF Coast Guard vessels at home in the Maldives in lieu of incurring extra costs in doing so in foreign countries.

In addition to this, Brig.-Gen. Abdul Raheem Abdul Latheef also confirmed that no foreign military personnel would be stationed at the harbor, and that only MNDF and Coast Guard personnel would be active at UTF once the project was complete.

The press conference also saw MNDF officials provide details on how the harbor would be developed. Indian developers are expected to be active at the UTF Coast Guard harbor during phase 1 of development, which is expected to conclude within a period of three years. Phase 2 of development will see India provide professionals who will facilitate technical and logistics support to the Maldives as needed until the harbor is fully developed.

The MNDF Coast Guard Harbor to be developed with aid from India will be based in "Sifavaru" at Uthuru Thila Fushi of Mae' Atoll. The project will encompass the development of a jetty, harbor repair facility, slipway and other resources needed for a fully sufficient harbor and dockyard with support from India.

Under the agreement signed between Defense Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi and India's External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar, Indian professionals will be working to train Maldivians to work at the harbor, and will be providing maintenance aid for the equipment at the dockyard for a period of 15 years.

Last updated at: 7 months ago
Reviewed by: Aishath Shaany
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