Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Operation Cactus 1988 Indian Forces in Maldives

Operation Cactus 1988 Indian Forces in Maldives

Para Commandos Jumping from an IL 76 Transporter

           Maldives is an island nation in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The country was formerly a colony under the British Empire and gained its independence in the year 1968. Maldives is a collection of around 1,192 islands among which 192 islands are believed to be populated and sums to around 328,536. Male is recognised as the capital of Maldives. It is the smallest Asian country in both population and land area. Maldives is a presidential republic, with the President as head of government and head of state. The current President is Abdulla Yameen. The main revenue is from Tourism. Maldives is an active member in SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation). India and Maldives have shared a friendly and close relationship in strategic, economic and military cooperation. India has contributed to maintaining security on the island nation.  Maldives is placed strategically in Indian Ocean that has been considered by India as part of its Extended Exclusive Economic Region (EEER). India has time and again provided Maldives supports be it the scope for infrastructure development, resources to boost the economy of the nation or be it the security of the nation. India has provided support to Maldives during the times of revolt from within the country and from foreign armed rebels, during natural calamities and during times of distress.  A notable time of support India provided to Maldives was during the coup in 1998 under the name ‘Operation Cactus ‘.

        The beginning of November 1988, armed militants belonging to the People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam landed in Maldives and started joining the armed rebels within the Island nation. The rebels challenged the government headed by then president Gayoom. The plot was well laid in Sri Lanka by the Tamil nationalist group which was seeking a safe haven and base for its activities. Having a very small flotilla of armed ships the Maldivian government soon conceded defeat and the militants successfully landed in various Maldivian ports. The militants also successfully took control of the airport in Male, and took control of most of the parts in the national capital. But the militants failed to capture the President of Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who had fled the troubled country and asked for military aid from India on 3 November. The then-Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi ordered 1,600 troops to aid the Maldivian government. Thus began the “Operation Cactus”.

       On the night of 3 November 1988 an Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft under the Indian Air Force airlifted the forces of the 50th Independent Parachute Brigade, commanded by Brig Farukh Bulsara, the 6th Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, and, the 17th Parachute Field Regiment from Agra Air Force Station and flew them to MalĂ© International Airport. But by then the mafia government headed by a smuggler-businessman Abdullah Luthui had taken control of the nation.,  Sensing further intervention from Sri Lankan forces Indian Navy immediately dispatched two frigates.

       The forces soon moved in land and secured various strategic installations throughout the nation. The rebels soon lost mainly due to the factor they were outnumbered in terms of soldiers as well as the sheer means of technology and strategies put in place by the Indian forces. The rebels soon started escaping from Maldives to Sri Lanka using various means. The Indian Navy tracked down a Freighter leaving from the Male port which was heading towards International waters. The navy soon received credible information that the freighter was being used by rebels to return to Sri Lanka. Indian Frigate Godavari was asked to tail the Freighter and assess the situation onboard the vessel. INS Godavari tailed the vessel for about nautical miles. The navy soon pushed its two frigates into action and made sure the vessel never reached the Sri Lankan territory. After assessing the situation to be calm, INS Godavari launched its Sea King ASW helicopter. Sensing trouble the rebels soon pulled up two ship crew and threatened to execute the hostages if the frigate did not stop tailing the vessel. Determined to stop and capture the rebels INS Godavari was ordered to continue tailing the vessel. The rebels executed two hostages and forced the Indian Navy to ditch the efforts. The Commanding officer of INS Godavari immediately ordered to train the main guns on the suspected vessel. Following the onslaught the Frigate launched an elite unit of the MARCOS who soon boarded the vessel and took the vessel and the rebels under their custody and soon secured the hostages.

    The forces captured and repatriated the rebels to the Maldives government Police, and pulled out of the country after an impressive operational successful feather to their hats. Conducting a successful  operation India proved its stand towards Maldives and made clear it would take any extreme decisions to safe guard its allies. The International community congratulated the Indian government's effort.
Issuing a statement in this regard the then 

President of US Ronald Regan was quoted saying 
                      “It’s a valuable contribution to regional stability “

The Prime Minster of UK Margaret Thatcher said in a statement

                 “Thank God for India: President Gayoom's government has been saved “

But only the Indian Neighbors only sounded negatively

   And now almost same situation in Maldives that pro Indian President was arrested by Illegal Maldives government, and poses a Threat to regional stability, the Government said in a statement that New Delhi watching closely the situation, and many of the Military think tanks repeatedly asking the government to intervene the Maldives Current situation.  

INS Godavari who is in Action against the Freighter see the Sea King who dropped Depth Charges

IAF Commandos escorting the Rebel Leader

Editor Karthik Kakoor

No comments:

Post a Comment