Operation Cactus by Indian Armed Forces was carried out to the save the Maldives government. The situation in Maldives was not stable since 1980 and International community never took it seriously and there have been several attempts to throw the presidential rule of Maldive’s President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. What happened in 1988 shocked the world when a group led by Abdullah Luthufi and assisted by People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) from Sri Lanka . Around 100 armed people just before dawn infiltrated Male the capital city of Maldives. What happened next was even more disastrous, these 100 people took control of the entire city that included major government buildings, airport and mostly the entire city . The only good part was that they couldn’t get hold of the President who fled away. Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom immediately asked for international intervention from United States, United Kingdom and India.
The situation was getting out of hand in Maldives as United States and United Kingdom were looking disinterested and then India came to the rescue. Then Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi send 1600 troops to get everything back to order. The operation Cactus began on 3rd November 1988 When Indian Aircraft Ilyushin II-76 took troops from three regiments and flew them non-stop for 2000 kilometres to land them in Male the capital city of Maldives. After Landing in male within hours the Indian Paratroopers gained control of the city and rescued the President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and law and order was back in the beautiful island. After the brilliantly constructed operation India received a praise from the international community when United States called it as valuable contribution to regional stability. United Kingdom Prime Minister Margret Thatcher said ‘Thank God for India- President Gayoom’s government is saved in Maldives. This is one of the several operations that India has carried out successfully and proved again that why it is not a third world country, but a emerging super power.