New Delhi: The Maldives government on Sunday issued a statement cautioning its unruly ministers against making ‘derogatory remarks’ about ‘foreign leaders and high-ranking officials’. The statement came amid backlash over a minister in the newly-elected Mohamed Muizzu government and other leaders using derogatory and racist slurs against Indians and PM Modi over his tourism push for Lakshadweep. The island country said that the comments made by some of its ministers ‘do not represent the views of the Government of Maldives’.
“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 statement said. “The Government believes that the freedom of expression should be exercised in a democratic and responsible manner, and in ways that do not spread hatred, negativity, and hinder close relationships between the Maldives and its international partners,” it added.
Government of Maldives issues statement – “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… pic.twitter.com/RQfKDb2wYF
— ANI (@ANI) January 7, 2024
The government statement said that it would take a tough stand against the comments, saying, “Moreover, the relevant authorities of the Government will not hesitate to take action against those who make such derogatory remarks.” What is the whole controversy?
A few days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Lakshadweep archipelago, social media posts from a minister and other leaders in the Maldives have stirred controversy. The visit by PM Modi to the country’s smallest Union Territory, comprising 36 islands, was seen as an initiative to promote tourism on the island.
In these tweets, the ministers used abusive language against PM Modi, accused India of targeting the Maldives, and claimed that India faces significant challenges in competing with the Maldives in beach tourism.
These tweets came in response to PM Modi’s posts on X (formerly Twitter), where he shared his experience of snorkeling in the Lakshadweep. The posts attracted widespread attention, leading social media users in India to suggest the island Union Territory as an alternative tourist destination to the Maldives.