The joint aerial surveillance operation was launched on Monday

Relations between India and Maldives are frail at the time being, especially with China's growing influence here

Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) Coastguard, together with the Indian Navy, is carrying out a joint aerial surveillance of the Maldives Exclusive Economic Zone.

MNDF said that the operation was launched on Monday, but did no disclose any further information including the number of officers taking part in the operation.

However, photos shared by MNDF on social media show that two navy aircraft arrived in Maldives for the operation.

The special operation is being conducted at a time when relations between Maldives and India can only be described as 'frail', especially with China's growing influence in the archipelago nation.

Amid the growing tension, India was recently asked to take back the two helicopters it had gifted and a prominent member of the ruling party was recently denied entry into India after landing at Chennai International Airport.

Furthermore, during Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa's official visit to the Maldives in April this year, both parties had discussed the possibilities of the Maldives and Pakistan joint patrolling the island nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

Following this, Indian news outlets reported that this was a 'Red Line' for India and that it would “certainly raise the stakes for India”.