Maldives Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer Saturday (May 11) said civilian personnel of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) have replaced 76 Indian troops on the island nation.

The Indian military personnel manned the helicopters donated by the Indian government to the Maldives. Those helicopters were manufactured by HAL only.

Maldives' Sun Online outlet reported, "Indian soldiers were deployed in Hanimaadhoo, Kadhdhoo and Gan. 26 soldiers withdrew from Gan between March 7-9, while another 25 soldiers withdrew from Hanimaadhoo between April 7-9 and 12 withdrew from Kadhdhoo on May 7."

Zameer also said that the civilian personnel of HAL will leave the nation in April 2026.

“Civilians have been brought in to replace all of them, to maintain and manage [the aircrafts]. We want to note that only the necessary number had been here before, as well," he said.

“Their period of stay is declared in the latest letter of exchange signed with us. The period will remain in place for long as there are no amendments made to this letter of exchange. We will engage in further talks with the Indian government based on need," Moosa Zameer added.

Earlier on May 10, the Indian Ministry of Foreign Ministers confirmed that Indian troops will leave the tiny Indian Ocean nation, and will be replaced by civilian personnel.

“So, both Maldives and India have engaged quite some time to see how best they can continue the operation of aviation platforms. And in that regard, you have seen developments in first and second batches of people who were providing their support there, they had come back," MEA official spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal had said in a press briefing.

(With Agency Inputs)