Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu may visit India later this month. After assuming office in November last year, President Muizzu has so far visited Turkey and the UAE and is currently on visit to China, since coming to power, marking a departure from the tradition of making India the first foreign destination for a newly elected president.
The visit was proposed before the current diplomatic row erupted over derogatory remarks by the ministers of the Muizzu government against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India.
Maldives’ tourism industry ‘strongly condemns’ anti-PM Modi posts, says India has always been first responder in crises.
On a week-long visit to China, Muizzu has so far visited the Xiamen Free Trade Zone in Fujian province and engaged with senior officials of the China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC). Additionally, meetings were held with prominent Chinese political figures, including Zhou Zuyi, Secretary of the CPC Fujian Provincial Party Committee, and Zhao Long, Deputy Secretary of the CPC Fujian Provincial Party Committee and Governor of Fujian Province.
He will, later in the visit, meet Chinese President Xi Jinping as well.
President Muizzu administration, which rose to power with an anti-India stance, has urged India to withdraw its troops from the country.
Muizzu visit to China comes amid Madives’ diplomatic row with India which began after Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted pictures and videos from the Lakshadweep islands in western India.
Pictures and videos of the trip went viral and the three ministers in the Muizzu administration posted disparaging remarks against PM Modi for his post on X, inferring that it was an attempt to project the Union Territory as an alternative tourist destination to the Maldives.
In response to the contentious statements, the Maldivian government has taken action by suspending the ministers involved in the incident. Additionally, the government has distanced itself from these comments.
After the row, there were posts on social media claiming that some Indians are cancelling their scheduled trips to the Maldives. Hashtag “Boycott Maldives” was also trending on social media.
EaseMyTrip said it has suspended all flight bookings to the island nation on its website “in solidarity” with India.
The Maldivian foreign ministry said the government is aware of “derogatory remarks” made on social media platforms against foreign leaders and that the personal views do not represent the country’s position.
Meanwhile, the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) on Tuesday said that it “strongly condemns” the derogatory comments made on social media platforms against India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry strongly condemns the derogatory comments made by some Deputy Ministers on social media platforms, directed towards the Prime Minister of India, His Excellency Narendra Modi as well as the people of India. India is one of our closest neighbours and allies. India has always been a first responder to various crises throughout our history and we are immensely grateful to the close relationship that the Government as well as people of India have maintained with us,” said MATI in a statement on Monday.
MATI said India has also been a consistent and significant contributor to the tourism industry of the Maldives.