In a move to safeguard diplomatic relations and promote responsible discourse, the Maldivian government has issued a stern warning against individuals making derogatory remarks targeting India. The announcement comes in the wake of a recent surge in disparaging comments by various Maldivian government officials following a video shared by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Lakshadweep.
The controversy unfolded on social media platforms, with pro-Indian government accounts endorsing Modi’s video as a potential tourism boost for Lakshadweep, potentially impacting the Maldives’ thriving tourism industry. This prompted several high-ranking government officials to engage in the dispute.
The Maldivian Foreign Ministry, in a statement, clarified that such opinions expressed on social media are personal and do not reflect the official stance of the Maldivian government. Emphasizing the importance of democratic and responsible freedom of expression, the government stated its commitment to preventing the spread of hatred and negativity that could strain international relationships.
The statement warned that the relevant authorities would not hesitate to take action against those making derogatory remarks. Former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed, urging the current administration to distance itself from the comments, emphasized India’s crucial role as a key ally for the Maldives’ security and prosperity.
Nasheed specifically called out Mariyam Shiuna, the deputy minister for youth, for her use of “appalling language” against a leader of a key ally. The former president’s post underscored the significance of providing clear assurances to India that such remarks do not reflect official government policy.
The controversy has also been linked to the ‘India Out’ campaign, initiated by the current ruling party during its opposition days, which called for the expulsion of Indian military personnel from the Maldives. President Muizzu, who campaigned on this promise, reiterated the call for the withdrawal of Indian soldiers after assuming office in November.
India holds a pivotal role as one of the top source markets for tourist arrivals in the Maldives, with 209,198 Indian tourists visiting the country last year—marking the highest number of arrivals from a single market. The government’s warning against anti-India remarks reflects a commitment to maintaining strong bilateral ties and fostering a positive environment for international cooperation.