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Maldives Acquires Bayraktar TB2 Drones From Turkey

The Maldives has acquired its first-ever military drones from Turkey in a move to bolster its national security and surveillance missions.

Baykar’s Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles were delivered to the country and are currently stationed at Maafaru International Airport in Northern Maldives.

Although unofficially announced, local reports say that the Maldivian government plans to begin drone operations about a week after the acquisitions.

The platforms will patrol the archipelago’s 347,000 square miles (900,000 square kilometers) of exclusive economic zone.

The deal is estimated to cost $37 million, with each unit and corresponding systems priced at around $5 million.

The deal follows President Mohamed Muizzu‘s policy amendments highlighting the modernization of the Maldives National Defence Force, providing newer capabilities for its land, sea, and air defenses.

Tensions With India

The Maldives’ updated defense protocols come amid rising tensions with India.

In 2023, Muizzu formally requested New Delhi, which considers the Maldives as part of its sphere of influence, to withdraw its troops from the archipelago, a move solidifying his election pledge on his first day in office.

Muizzu, who has strong relations with China, assured that the move was not done to supplement the region with Chinese forces.

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