Maldives grateful to India for being a ‘true friend’: Abdulla Shahid remembers Operation Cactus

Recalling ‘timely and invaluable’ assistance of Indian military to the Maldives in averting the 1988 coup attempt, foreign minister Abdulla Shahid on Tuesday said Male will always be “grateful” to New Delhi for being a “trusted neighbour and a true friend”.

“Today, we remember the brave martyrs of @MNDF_Official and civilians who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Today, we honour our brave soldiers who fought valiantly to protect our freedom and sovereignty. Today, we offer gratitude to the heroes of #3 November,” Shahid tweeted.

“Today is the day to value true partnerships and true friends. The timely and invaluable military support of #India on 3 November 1988 will always be remembered. The Maldives will always be grateful to India, for being a trusted neighbour and a true friend,” he added.

On this day in 1988, a group of Maldivians led by businessman Abdullah Luthufi and assisted by armed mercenaries of a Tamil secessionist organisation from Sri Lanka, the People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam tried to overthrow the government of then-president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

However, they were caught in a shoot out with military forces in Male and were forced to retreat after India Army commenced ‘Operation Cactus’ and deployed paratroopers to the Maldives on Gayoom’s request.

Nineteen Maldivians were killed in the gunfire.

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