3 Maldivian Ministers suspended – Future of India Maldives relations

NRI Section Description

The Maldives government took action against three deputy ministers for making derogatory remarks about India’s Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi, causing strains in relations between the two nations.

Officials Malsha Shareef, Mariyam Shiuna, and Abdulla Mahzoom Majid, employed in the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Information, and Arts, faced disciplinary measures due to their social media comments targeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These remarks labeled Modi as a “clown,” “terrorist,” and a “puppet of Israel,” in response to his visit to the Indian islands of Lakshadweep to promote tourism. Modi’s visit was perceived by some as an attempt to divert tourists from the popular Maldives.

Lakshadweep Tourism

Lakshadweep Islands

The Indian High Commission in the Maldives raised serious concerns over these comments. This controversy arises just ahead of President Mohamed Muizzu’s scheduled visit to China from Jan. 8-12. Muizzu, elected last year, vowed to shift away from the Maldives’ previous “India first” policy in a region where India and China vie for influence. He also pledged to remove a small contingent of 75 Indian military personnel from the country.

This incident drew dismay from notable Indians like actor Akshay Kumar and cricketer Hardik Pandya. In a drive to boost local tourism, several prominent Indians, including former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and actor Salman Khan, encouraged people to explore Indian islands instead of traveling abroad.

The hashtag #ExploreIndianIslands surged as the second-largest trend on social media. Some Indians shared screenshots of canceled bookings for Maldivian holidays as a part of this campaign.

The Maldives’ Foreign Ministry emphasized its awareness of derogatory remarks against foreign leaders, stressing a zero-tolerance policy toward such actions. Former Maldives President Ibrahim Solih echoed these sentiments, highlighting India’s historically friendly ties with the Maldives, urging against any negative impact on this relationship.

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