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Indian envoy meets Maldives official amid row over controversial remarks against PM Modi – India TV

Indian High Commissioner, Maldives
Image Source : PTI/FILE Indian High Commissioner Munu Mahawar with Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu.

Indian High Commissioner to Maldives Munu Mahawar was called to the country’s foreign ministry on Monday, where he had a pre-arranged meeting with Ali Naseer Mohamed, Ambassador at large at the ministry, amid the row over derogatory remarks used against Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his recent visit to Lakshadweep. 

The Indian High Commission in Maldives posted on X, “High Commissioner Munu Mahawar had a pre-arranged meeting with H.E. Dr Ali Naseer Mohamed, Ambassador at Large, at MoFA, Maldives, today to discuss bilateral issues.”

This comes after Maldivian Envoy Ibrahim Shaheeb was summoned by the Ministry of External Affairs on Monday morning. He was seen entering and later exiting Delhi’s South Block. A significant controversy erupted when Maldives ministers made disparaging remarks about PM Modi.

The story so far

Using the social media platform X, he posted images of the picturesque white beaches, clear blue skies, and the ocean, encouraging adventurous exploration in Lakshadweep. In a post that has now been deleted, Mariyam Shiuna, Deputy Minister of Youth Empowerment, Information and Arts, while commenting on the photos of PM Modi, dubbed him as a ‘clown’ and a ‘puppet of Israel’. 

“The move is great. However, the idea of competing with us is delusional. How can they provide the service we offer? How can they be so clean? The permanent smell in the rooms will be the biggest downfall,” Zahid Rameez, a Council member of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) wrote on X. 

The Indian High Commission in Maldives had strongly raised and expressed concerns about the remarks made in regard to PM Modi by the ministers in the Maldives Government, according to government sources. The Muizzu administration distanced itself from the remarks and suspended three ministers on Sunday, as per reports.

Maldives Minister of Foreign Affairs Moosa Zameer expressed that such remarks against foreign leaders are deemed “unacceptable” and do not represent the official stance of the Maldives government. Zameer emphasized the continued commitment of the Maldives to nurture a “positive and constructive dialogue” with all partners, with a particular emphasis on neighbouring nations.

Backlash against racist remarks

The controversial remarks set off a major row on social media platforms, as thousands of Indians cancelled their bookings and flight tickets to Maldives. High-profile celebrities like Akshay Kumar also took to social media to condemn the remarks made against PM Modi. 

EaseMyTrip co-founder and CEO Nishant Patti also announced the suspension of all Maldives flight bookings. The hashtag #BoycottMaldives gained traction on social media as Indian tourists started cancelling their scheduled vacations to the island nation. Other celebrities like John Abraham and Shraddha Kapoor urged people to explore Indian islands.

It is noteworthy that while sharing his Lakshadweep experience, PM Modi wrote, ‘For those who want to have a thrilling experience, Lakshadweep should be on their list. I also tried snorkeling. What an exhilarating experience it was!”. This post of PM Modi went viral and many social media users said that Lakshadweep could be an alternative tourist destination of Maldives, after which objectionable comments came from the leaders of the Maldives government.

ALSO READ | Amid strained ties with India, Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu departs for China

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