New Delhi, Feb 27: Maldives, which is undergoing a political turmoil, has declined India’s invite to participate in the 2018 naval exercise Milan, which begins from March 6, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said on Tuesday. The island nation did not give any particular reason for its decision to not participate in the Milan Naval Exercise 2018.

The Navy Chief also said that 16 countries have confirmed their participation in the exercise. The countries include Australia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, New Zealand, Oman, Vietnam, Thailand, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya and Cambodia. (Also Read: Maldives to hold presidential poll in September)

The Indian military’s Andaman and Nicobar Command will hold the Milan Naval Excercise 2018 at Port Blair from March 6-13 with the theme of “friendship across the seas”. The ‘Milan 2018’ inaugural address will be delivered by Lanba. The interactions at the Milan 2018 include ship visits and cultural evenings, according to the reports.

Earlier in the day, Maldives State Health Minister Dunya Maumoon resigned over the arrest of her father. The development comes a few days after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency. (Also Read: India is Distorting Facts About Emergency, Alleges Maldives After 30-Day Extension)

“Today, at this time of pain and crisis for both my family and my country, it is my sincere hope to see my father home at the earliest,” said Dunya Maumoon. “He is not just my father, but the father of the nation, who has built this country and has earned the respect and love of the people,” she added.

She added: “I therefore call upon the international community to support the Maldivian people to help us overcome this crisis and to build a stronger democratic system.”