Three deputy ministers from the Youth Ministry—Malsha Shareef, Mariyam Shiuna, as well as Abdulla Mahzoom Majid—were suspended by the Maldivian government for making “derogatory remarks” on social media about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India expressed concern regarding the officials’ insulting remarks, and this action was taken in response.

The Maldivian government quickly clarified that it disagreed with the ministers’ remarks, calling them “personal” and not reflective of the government’s opinions. The government reaffirmed its dedication to upholding international ties, avoiding negativity and intolerance, and allowing for responsible freedom of expression.

Indian Response and Diplomatic Routes

India expressed its concerns to Maldive’s government through diplomatic means, with the Indian High Commissioner in Male bringing up the issue. Deputy Minister Mariyam Shiuna’s disparaging remarks against Prime Minister Modi, which included calling him a “clown” and a “puppet,” provoked a backlash in India and prompted calls to boycott travel to the Maldives.

Former Presidents’ Disapproval

The offensive language directed towards India was denounced by former presidents of the Government, Mohamed Nasheed & Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. India was praised by Nasheed as a “key ally” for the Maldives’ economy and security. Solih condemned the disparaging comments and emphasized the need to maintain the two nations’ long-standing friendship.

The New Maldivian Government’s Views Against India

President Muhammad Muizzu’s recently elected administration has come under fire for what is seen as an anti-Indian position. An anti-India platform was part of Muizzu’s election campaign, and the administration has sided closely with the Arab world, as seen by the President’s first foreign visit to Turkey, which has a reputation for having anti-Indian sentiments.

Dedication to Sensible Expression

Following the incident, the government reaffirmed its determination to take prompt action against social media users whose behavior jeopardizes international ties. The ministers’ suspension demonstrates the government’s commitment to upholding constructive bilateral relations and allowing for appropriate speech.

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