June 21, 2024

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Maldives Envoy Leaves MEA Amid Row Over Derogatory PM Remarks

The Maldives High Commissioner to India, Ibrahim Shaheeb, was spotted exiting the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) building in South Block, Delhi, following a controversy over derogatory social media comments by Maldivian ministers regarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lakshadweep visit.

The dispute escalated last week when a Maldives deputy minister, alongside other cabinet members, made disrespectful remarks about PM Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep. The comments were widely criticised, leading to diplomatic tensions.

Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep on January 2, where he shared images of his snorkelling experience and praised the Union Territory’s natural beauty, triggered the controversy. In response, Maldivian Deputy Minister Shiuna posted mocking comments about PM Modi, which were later deleted.

Maldives High Commissioner Ibrahim Shaheeb’s visit to the MEA and subsequent departure come amid efforts to address the diplomatic fallout. The Maldives government officially distanced itself from the ministers’ remarks, emphasising its commitment to positive dialogue with neighbours, particularly India.

Former Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih condemned the hateful language and reaffirmed the strong historical ties between India and the Maldives. He emphasised the need to preserve the enduring friendship between the two countries.

Former Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid called the derogatory remarks reprehensible and urged the Maldivian government to identify and reprimand the officials responsible. He echoed the sentiment that such language should not impact the longstanding friendship with India.

Sections of India’s film fraternity also expressed solidarity with PM Modi and criticised the offensive remarks made by Maldivian leaders. They endorsed PM Modi’s initiative to promote beach tourism in Lakshadweep.

As diplomatic efforts unfold, the departure of the Maldives envoy from the MEA suggests ongoing discussions to address the diplomatic fallout and restore amicable relations between the two nations.