24 hours after new President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was sworn in, the new Defence Minister of Maldives, Mariya Didi, has said that Male won't be returning back the two Indian helicopters which New Delhi had gifted.

Maldives under Abdulla Yameen, who was defeated by Solih September election, had asked India to withdraw two helicopters along with 50 military personnel this year.

Speaking to WION, Mariya Didi said, "It’s not in our culture to ask neighbours to take back what they give." 

One chopper is deployed in the Indian Ocean nation's southernmost island of Addu and the other in the strategically-located Lammu. 

The helicopters were gifted in 2013 by India on Maldives' request.

"The helicopters can be put to good use for medical evacuations and for search and rescue," Mariya told WION, in her first interview to an Indian organisation after taking charge as the first female Defence Minister of the island nation. 

Maldives' former ambassador to India, Ahmed Mohamed had told news agency told Reuters that "They were very useful in the past but with the development of adequate infrastructure, facilities and resources we are now in a position to handle medical evacuations on our own." 

Yameen had junked pro India "India first policy" and increasingly aligned himself to China. Yameen's predecessor Mohamed Nasheed had indicated that China was responsible for the development and told WION a few months ago that Yameen was under pressure from "external forces to remove these helicopters".

Solih took oath as the new President of Maldives on Saturday in the presence of 17 foreign dignitaries and representatives from 46 countries, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In his first address as the President, Solih said, "We will endeavour to fortify existing ties with India. Maldives will hereupon bolster its shared role to retain enduring peace and harmony of the Indian Ocean."

In his 100 days goals, Solih has said, he will "endeavour to fortify the existing ties the Maldives has had with India."

India was the only country invited at the Head of State/Government level at the presidential oath-taking ceremony and PM Modi was the first foreign leader Solih met after being sworn in as President. 

Both Maldives and India also issued a joint statement calling to strengthen ties and ease visa regime. The new Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid will be visiting India on November 26.