Operation Cactus was an indian Military involvement in Maldives to stop a Military coup d'Ã©tat in 1988 that was intended to over throw Maldive's Gayum Government. It was backed Maldives Pirates and about 80 Members from People's liberation Organization Of Tamil Elam, a Tamil Militant organization in Sri Lanka. Maldive's Defence Force was not ready. "Whereas the 1980 and 1983 coup d'Ã©tat attempts against Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's presidency were not considered serious, the third coup d'Ã©tat attempt in November 1988 alarmed the international community[who?]. About 80 armed PLOTE mercenaries  landed in the capital MalÃ© before dawn aboard speedboats from a freighter. Disguised as visitors, a similar number had already infiltrated MalÃ© earlier. The mercenaries quickly gained control of the capital, including the major government buildings, airport, port and television and radio stations. However, 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 Gandhi immediately dispatched 1,600 troops by air to restore order in MalÃ©." 1988 Maldives coup d'Ã©tat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Contemporary Indian Prime Minister Rajib Gandhi instantly sent 1600 Indian Paratroopers, Indian air force il-76 transport planes took them to Male in non-stop flying from Agra. They arrived within 12 Hours from Maldive's Government's request. Indian Paratroopers quickly seized seized control of capital and rescued President Gayum. Mercenaries were no match against Indian Paratroopers and were quickly outclassed. They tried to fled in a captured Freighter to Sri Lanka, how ever Indian navy planes spotted the ship and 2 Indian navy Firgate INS Godavari and INS Betwa chased that, the Indian ships fired on that ship and dropped depth Charges on that ship, depth charges bounced and panicked mercenraies surrendered. Brigadier Farooq Bulsara led Indian troops. Male air port. Indian commandos with a captured mercenary. Indian airforce il-76. Indian navy firing on the mercenary captured Freighter. Indian army troops near NSS HQ. The fleeing ship under attack. Indian troops in Male with an An-12 plane.