India summons Maldives envoy over ministers’ derogatory remarks against PM Modi

On Sunday, the Maldivian government suspended three deputy ministers—Malsha Shareef, Mariyam Shiuna, and Abdulla Mahzoom Majid—due to their disparaging social media posts targeting PM Modi.

NEW DELHI | Updated: 08 January, 2024 3:52 pm IST
Maldivian envoy to India was summoned to the external affairs ministry

NEW DELHI: In a diplomatic spat, the Maldivian envoy to India was summoned to the External Affairs Ministry on Monday, where strong concerns were conveyed regarding derogatory remarks made by Maldivian ministers on social media against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On Sunday, the Maldivian government suspended three deputy ministers—Malsha Shareef, Mariyam Shiuna, and Abdulla Mahzoom Majid—due to their disparaging social media posts targeting PM Modi. The ministers criticised Modi for promoting Lakshadweep as a rival tourist destination to the Maldives.

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The Indian High Commission in Male reportedly raised the issue with the Maldivian foreign ministry on Sunday, expressing serious concerns over the comments. The MEA in New Delhi summoned the Maldives’ envoy to India on Monday, emphasising its disapproval of the remarks.

The controversy erupted after PM Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep, with the ministers suggesting that the promotional efforts aimed to position the Union Territory as an alternative to the Maldives. This triggered widespread criticism in India, with calls from celebrities urging people to explore domestic tourist destinations instead.

ALSO READ: Maldives suspends 3 ministers for ‘derogatory’ remarks on PM Modi

The Maldivian foreign ministry, distancing itself from the ministers’ comments, issued a statement on Sunday, stating, “The government of Maldives is aware of derogatory remarks on social media platforms against foreign leaders and high-ranking individuals. These opinions are personal and do not represent the views of the government of Maldives.”

The suspension of the three ministers comes in the wake of escalating tensions, with the Maldivian government moving swiftly to distance itself from the remarks. The Indian government, through the MEA, has underscored its serious concerns about the situation, highlighting the need for diplomatic decorum.

Amidst the diplomatic fallout, social media posts have surfaced indicating that some Indians are reconsidering or cancelling planned trips to the Maldives due to the ongoing dispute.

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