A number of former ministers of Maldives have posted comments on social in support of India after one of their colleagues set off a controversy by making derogatory comments against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The wave of comments came after the Maldives government, following a nudge from its former President Mohammed Nasheed, distanced itself from the comments of Mariyam Shiuna and others. The ministers who posted the comments have been suspended.
“I strongly condemn any derogatory and racist comments made by a group of Maldivian politicians towards His Excellency PM Modi @PMOIndia and beloved citizens of India,” posted the island nation’s former minister Ahmed Adeeb on X, formerly Twitter.
“Considering the global economic challenges and the vulnerability of the Maldives tourism industry and economy, it is crucial for us to maintain a friendly and humble approach while fostering positive relations, with all nations,” he added.
We established the Maldives tourism industry based on the principles of hospitality, tolerance, peace, and harmony. Through strategic positioning and collaborations with global brands and investments, including those from India, we have successfully positioned Maldives as a…
— Ahmed Adeeb (@Ahmed_Adeeb) January 7, 2024
“I call on the Government to reprimand these officials. Public figures must maintain decorum. They must accept that they are no longer social media activists and that they are now entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the interests of the people and the country,” posted former foreign minister Abdulla Shahid.
“India is a time tested friend and an unwavering ally. They have historically been the first to respond in our time of need. Our close relationship has been bound by mutual respect, history, culture and strong people-to-people relations,” he added.
Derogatory remarks made by 2 Deputy Ministers of the current #Maldives Government, and a member of a political party in the ruling coalition, towards Prime Minister @narendramodi and the people of India on social media is reprehensible and odious.
I call on the Government to… pic.twitter.com/kCjEyg4yjb
— Abdulla Shahid (@abdulla_shahid) January 7, 2024
The controversy started after PM Modi, during his visit to Lakshadweep, posted about snorkelling there. The post went viral, drawing positive response from social media users about the tourism prospects of Laskshadweep. Many suggested that the island Union Territory vcould even become an alternate tourist destination to the Maldives.
This had upset some in the Maldives and Mariyam Shiuna, Deputy Minister of Youth Empowerment, Information and Arts, had posted derogatory remarks about PM Modi, drawing a strong rebuke from its former President Mohammed Nasheed, Another minister of the island nation accused India of targeting the archipelago and said India faces significant challenges in competing with the Maldives in beach tourism.
Many Indians have cancelled tour bookings in the island nation and the hashtag #BoycottMaldives is gaining traction on social media.
“I’m deeply worried about the escalating situation regarding the sensitive comments about our closest neighbor. Indians boycotting the Maldives would have a huge impact on our economy. It would be hard for us to recover from such a campaign. I call on the government to swiftly take serious action to solve the issue ASAP,” tweeted former Youth minister Ahmed Mahloof. Shortly after, the government suspended ministers Mariyam Shiuna, Malsha and Hassan Zihan, reported the local media.