Amid the setback for the Maldives’ tourism industry, not only the tourism bodies of the island nation but even the opposition leaders are now mounting pressure on the Muizzu government to mend ties with India before it gets too late. Amid the diplomatic row after disparaging comments against India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Male ministers, the Government of India not only raised the issue officially but lodged a strong protest by summoning the Maldives ambassador to India.
Amid the ongoing row, opposition leader and the Chairperson of the Maldivian Democratic Party, Fayyaz Ismail, has called for a “tougher stand” by the Muizzu government. He said that the racist comments against India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were just isolated individual opinions of these people. He also underlined how the entire matter has reached a lot of Indians as well as Maldivians, due to easy accessibility of social media.
“I personally believe the government should take a tougher stand on that because this goes beyond government to government. Now, because of the easy accessibility of social media, this has reached to a lot of Indians and to a lot of Maldivians. And as arguments take over from both side, there has been lot of insults coming back and forth. So the government needs to show that there was no intention on the part of the government. These were just isolated individual opinions of these people who, unfortunately, were given positions in the government. So that needs to be clearly shown to the Indians, to the Maldivians, and to the entire world at large,” he told ANI.
On the other hand, Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu is on a China visit where he is likely to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and sign key agreements. During this visit, Muizzu has urged China to increase tourists to the Island nation. China has also reacted sharply to the diplomatic row by accusing India of ‘Hegemonic Mentality’ and ‘Lack Of Confidence’. China has earlier said that it never asked Maldives to reject India.
On January 2, PM Modi visited the Union Territory of Lakshadweep and shared several pictures, including an ‘exhilarating experience’ of him trying his hand at snorkelling. In a series of posts on X, PM Modi shared pictures of the white beaches, the pristine blue skies and the ocean and tagged them with a message that read, “For those who wish to embrace the adventurer in them, Lakshadweep has to be on your list.”
In a post that has now been deleted, the Maldivian Deputy Minister of Youth Empowerment, Mariyam Shiuna, made a mocking and disrespectful reference to PM Modi. Indians, including cricketers and film celebrities, have since come out in open support in promoting local beach destinations and other tourist spots. They also voiced support for PM Modi’s call for promoting beach tourism in Lakshadweep.