The development comes a day after three Maldives ministers were suspended for their “derogatory” remarks on PM Modi, which triggered a massive nationwide boycott call against the island nation
New Delhi: Maldives High Commissioner Ibrahim Shaheeb was summoned by the government on Monday amid the ongoing row over the comments of the island nation’s ministers on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India.
The development comes a day after three Maldives ministers were suspended for their “derogatory” remarks in response to Modi’s post on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), which triggered a massive nationwide boycott call of the popular tourist destination from the citizens.
What triggered ‘boycott Maldives’ call
PM Modi, on Thursday last week shared a post on X, promoting India’s Lakshadweep archipelago for tourism. As the post went viral on social media, many people highlighted the importance of boosting domestic tourism and its role in economic growth. Amid the series of reactions, the derogatory comments of three deputy ministers from the Maldives’ Youth Ministry also surfaced online. These now-suspended ministers have been identified as Malsha Shareef, Mariyam Shiuna and Abdulla Mahzoom Majid.
What Maldives government said
Following the row over the comments, the Maldivian Foreign Ministry, on Sunday, said they were aware of the “derogatory” remarks on social media platforms against foreign leaders and high-ranking individuals as it distanced itself from the controversy.
“These opinions are personal and do not represent the views of the Government of Maldives, it said in a statement, amidst uneasy relations between the Maldives and India after Mohamed Muizzu assumed charge as the new president in November,” the state broadcaster PSM News reported, citing the President’s Office.
Several opposition leaders of the island nation also slammed the “appalling language” used by the officials and called for action. Later in the evening, the three ministers were suspended by the government, which affirmed its commitment to taking swift action against any conduct that undermines international relations.
Notably, India dominated Maldives’ tourist arrival figures in 2023, with as many as 2,09,198 Indians visiting the island. Several celebrities, including Akshay Kumar, Sachin tendulkar had joined the boycott call over the weekend, condemning the language used by the Maldives officials while urging Indians to promote domestic tourism.