- Operation Cactus
Indian Air Force Ilyushin Il-76transport aircraft that was used to paradrop Indian troops in Male.
November 3, 1988
result=Decisive Indian victory Government rule restored in Maldives
casus=PLOTE invades Maldives
Operation Cactus: [ [http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/History/1990s/Cactus.html Operation Cactus - The IAF airlift into the Maldives ] ] In November 1988, the People's Liberation Front of Tamil
Eelam( PLOTE) comprising about 200 Tamil secessionists invaded Maldives. At the request of the President of Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Indian Armed Forceswith active assistance of the Research and Analysis Winglaunched a military campaign to fight the mercenaries out of Maldives.
1980and 1983coup attempts against Gayoom's presidency were not considered serious, the third coup attempt in November 1988alarmed the international community. About 80 armed PLOTEmercenaries [ [http://www.ipcs.org/ipcs/databaseIndex2.jsp?database=1001&country2=Maldives Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies ] ] landed on Malébefore dawn aboard speedboats from a freighter. Disguised as visitors, a similar number had already infiltrated Maléearlier. Although the mercenaries quickly gained the nearby airport on Hulele, they failed to capture President Gayoom, who fled from house to house and asked for military intervention from India, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhiimmediately dispatched 1,600 troops by air to restore order in Malé.
Less than 12 hours after the request from President Gayoom,
Indian paratroopers arrived on Hulele, causing some of the mercenaries to flee toward Sri Lankain their freighter. The operation started on the night of November 3, 1988, as the Indian Air Forceairlifted a parachute battaliongroup from Agraand flew them non-stop over 2,000 kilometres (1,240 mi) to Maldives. The Indian paratroopers landed at Hululeand secured the airfieldand restored the Government rule at Maléwithin hours. Those unable to reach the ship in time were quickly rounded up. Nineteen people reportedly died in the fighting, and several taken hostage also died. Three days later an Indian Navyfrigate captured the mercenaries on their freighter near the Sri Lankan coast. Swift operation by the military and precise intelligence information quelled the insurgency in the island nation.
1989, a number of the mercenaries were returned to Maldivesto stand trial. Gayoom commuted the death sentences passed against them to life imprisonment under Indian pressure [ [http://www.photius.com/countries/madagascar/government/madagascar_government_security_concerns.html Madagascar Security Concerns - Flags, Maps, Economy, History, Climate, Natural Resources, Current Issues, International Agreements, Population, Social Statistics, Political System ] ] .
1988coup had been headed by a once prominent Maldivian businessperson named Abdullah Luthufi, who was operating a farm on Sri Lanka. Ex-president Ibrahim Nasirdenied any involvement in the coup. In fact, in July 1990, President Gayoom officially pardoned Nasir in absentia in recognition of his role in obtaining Maldives' independence.
The operation also strengthened
Indo-Maldivian relationsas a result of the successful restoration of the Gayoom government.
Parachute Regiment (India)
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