Chief of Defense Force, Major General Abdulla Shamaal said on Tuesday that no country can protect itself by remaining isolated, facing cross border terrorism and transnational security threats in the modern world.
Shamaal made the remark in an interview to Public Service Media on Tuesday morning, as Maldives marks Victory Day, commemorating the defeat of a bloody coup attempt led by Abdulla Luthfee with the support of armed foreign mercenaries on November 3, 1988 to oust then-President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
He said that all countries, large or small, need to engage in cooperative efforts to gain protection.
Shamaal said that Maldives lies in a strategic location in the Indian Ocean, making international cooperation all the more important.
“Our water territory is vast. Given this vastness, it is very important for us to work in partnership with other countries. We need to work with Sri Lanka and India to make this region safe and secure,” he said.
Shamaal said that countries cannot effectively protect themselves when dealing with cross border terrorism and transnational security threats without cooperating with one another.
Speaking of the terror attack of November 3, Shamaal said that the Maldivian military had not been prepared for such an attack.
“Because we are the military, we are in a constant state of preparedness. But it was a far greater challenge than we had been tactically prepared for. We are talking about an attack led by some 60 armed mercenaries,” he said.
Shamaal said that the Maldivian military became a true military force after November 3, by seeking specialized military training from countries and procuring weapons to strengthen the force.
Shamaal, along with Defense Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi oversaw the flag hoisting and guard mounting ceremony at the Victory Day Monument in Male’ on Tuesday morning.
The guards fired a seven-gun salute and military officers renewed their oath – administered by Vice Chief of Defense Force Brigadier General Abdul Raheem Abdul Latheef.
In additional to the ceremony in Male’, MDNF Northern Area Command, Central Area Command and Southern Area Command held separate flag hoisting ceremonies, held after the performance of Fajr prayer in congregations across Maldives.
The attack of November 3 resulted in the death of 19 Maldivian citizens; eight soldiers and 11 civilians.
In his address on occasion of Victory Day, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih praised the exemplary bravery shown by the Maldivian military to defend against the attack, while Defense Minister Mariya, in her address, said that the fallen heroes of November 3 deserve endless praise.