In the intervening night between November 2 and 3, 1988, 200–300 armed mercenaries invaded the nation's capital, seizing strategic locations.
In November 1988, Maldivian and Tamil mercenaries, supported by businessman Abdullah Luthufi, tried to overthrow President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's government.
In response to Gayoom's request, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi sent naval warships and paratroopers to the island nation. Operation Cactus started on the night of 3 November 1988.
Indian paratroopers and naval forces were deployed to Male, the capital of the Maldives, to neutralize the coup attempt.
The Indian intervention successfully thwarted the coup attempt, with insurgents killed, captured, or forced to flee, restoring President Gayoom's government to power.
Training ship Tir, Frigate Godavari, Betwa, Rajput, Ranjit, Gomati, Trishul, Nilgiri, Kumbhir, Cheetah and fleet tanker Deepak sailed towards the Maldives.
In an official ceremony on November 8, President Gayoom received the recused hostages. The intervention further solidified India's ties with the Maldives.
Operation Cactus's success reaffirmed India's commitment to neighboring security & stability, and its willingness to intervene militarily to counter regional threats to peace.