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Maldives declines India’s invite to ‘Milan’ naval exercise: Navy chief

Maldives declining India’s invitation comes at a time the island nation is dealing with a state of emergency, a situation over which India has raised strong concerns.

india Updated: Feb 27, 2018 13:59 IST
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Maldives,Milan naval exercise,India
A Maldives National Defence Force soldier walks past the president's office building in Male, Maldives February 6, 2018. Maldives has declined India’s invitation to participate in the (Reuters Photo)

Maldives has declined India’s invitation to participate in the biennial naval exercise Milan, which starts on March 6, Navy chief admiral Sunil Lanba said on Tuesday.

Maldives has not given any reason for the decision, Lanba told reporters on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi.

Navy sources said over 16 countries have confirmed their participation in the exercise.

India will host navies from at least 16 countries for the eight-day mega naval exercise with an aim to expand regional cooperation and combat unlawful activities in critical sea lanes.

The biennial exercise ‘Milan’ is being organised at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the backdrop of China’s growing military posturing in the Indo-Pacific region and officials said the issue is likely to figure during deliberations among navy chiefs of the participating countries at the event.

India, the US and several other nations have been pressing for freedom of navigation in the disputed South China Sea.

First Published: Feb 27, 2018 13:14 IST