‘Operation Cactus’ revealed, how Rajiv Gandhi averted coup on Maldives with help of Indian armed forces

If you are reading this article at this time, possibilities are that you have watched the movies like Airlift, where Indian Air Force evacuated Indians to their home soil, India. Though, a military operation, which involves a foreign land, doesn’t make any headlines soon, however, made public after years, only if the risk of losing any confidentiality and international pressure gets to settle down. One such operation was Operation Cactus, where Indian helped Maldives to avert the coup d’état on foreign soils.

29-years ago on this day, Indian Army, Air Force and Navy, the three beacons of India, carried a mission to help one of the world’s smallest island country, Maldives. The Indian defence helped Maldives to avert the coup d’état attempted by a group of Maldivians led by Abdullah Luthifi and assisted by armed mercenaries of a Tamil secessionist organization from Sri Lanka, the People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE), to overthrow the government in the island republic of Maldives.

To give in-depth knowledge as how the operation started and the military preparedness of the operation, Retired Group Captain of Indian air force Ashok K Chordia is all set to release his first book on Operation Cactus.

In the well-researched book, Group Captain Ashok K Chardia – who, as a Flight Lieutenant was a part of the Indian contingent. The Retired Indian air force officer is traveling back in time and analyses the historical operation.

Here’s a snap to give you an idea about what Operation Cactus actually was:

In the well-researched book, Group Captain Ashok K Chardia – who, as a Flight Lieutenant was a part of the Indian Contingent. The Retired Indian air force officer is traveling back in time and analyses the historical operation.

Here’s a snap to give you an idea about what Operation Cactus actually was:

1. It was one of the first such operations to be led by India in a foreign land after independence and without UN’s involvement. It was sanctioned by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

2. On November 3, 1988, India got a distress call from the President of Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom that his country was under siege from Sri Lanka. He made such calls to several other countries but Indians were the only ones who reached out to help.

3. In order to help Maldives, India launched the most ambitious airborne operation (Op Cactus) since the 1971 Bangladesh War.

4. India, which was operating under the guidance of Brigadier FC Bulsara, former commander of 9 Para (Special Forces), just had tourist maps for guidance through the terrain!

5. Indian High Commissioner to Maldives, A K Banerjee, was the first to notice during an operational planning session that Indians were going to land at the wrong airport. His intervention ensured that soldiers landed at the correct one.

6. Despite being ill-equipped and understaffed, the Indian military reacted with full force within 9 hours of the distress call! The operation was completed within a matter of days and Maldives was freed of Sri Lanka’s clutches

Also, according to inside sources, a movie on the same is also on the cards where the Bollywood’s controversial actor Hrithik Roshan is in touch with the film’s director who is planning the movie.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *