oppn parties Ministers In Maldives Score A Self-Goal

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oppn parties
Ministers In Maldives Score A Self-Goal

By A Special Correspondent
First publised on 2024-01-08 06:55:02

It is with the change in government in Maldives, blatant anti-India sentiments are being expressed by no less than ministers in the new government. Three such deputy ministers took to social media to spew venom on India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he posted a tweet about his recent visit to the Lakshadweep Islands. There was no trigger for the same - it was a willful act of trying to sabotage the cordial relations India has with Maldives. Although the new government is pro-China and has already asked India to take back its troops stationed in the islands, that was seen as a policy matter and India had responded accordingly. But spewing hate is something else altogether and cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. The hate mentality being displayed can also adversely affect Indians staying there and the lakhs of tourists who visit the island nation every year.

The Maldives government has acted swiftly and removed them from official duties. Maldives is aware that its economy is dependent on tourism and Indians form the largest block of tourists to visit the nation every year. It has taken steps to contain the damage but the backlash in India has also been swift. Celebrities, including film stars and sportspersons, have taken to social media to start a boycott Maldives campaign. Some have even cancelled their planned visit to the island nation and posted their cancelled tickets on social media platforms. A campaign to highlight islands and beaches in India that could give Maldives a stiff competition has also started. It is now clear that there is going to be a huge drop in tourists visiting Maldives from India. This has raised concerns in Maldives with many people, including former President Md. Nasheed, coming out in support of India.

China has been trying to increase its influence in the strategic islands in the Indian Ocean which is just 100 kms away from Lakshadweep. With the new pro-China government assuming office there, it was obvious that relations would suffer. But Indo-Maldivian ties are strong and any immediate worsening in relations was not on the cards. The three sacked deputy ministers have started a process which, if not reversed, might sour relations faster. The Mohamed Muizzu government has moved fast to control the damage and has issued a warning that freedom of expression must not be exercised in ways that hinder close relations with international partners. It has warned of stern action against people who make such derogatory comments.