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India-Maldives Relations and Recent Tensions



  Mar 21, 2024

India-Maldives Relations and Recent Tensions



Q1: Why have relations between India and the Maldives worsened recently?

A1: Relations have been tense since the election of Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu in November 2023, with the situation exacerbated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep and subsequent comparisons of Lakshadweep with the Maldives as a tourist destination. This led to a social media clash involving supporters of both governments.


Q2: What triggered the diplomatic fallout between India and the Maldives?

A2: The fallout was triggered by derogatory remarks made by three deputy ministers in the Maldivian government against Prime Minister Modi, which led to India summoning the Maldivian ambassador and a social media backlash advocating a travel boycott of the Maldives.


Q3: How did the Maldives respond to the controversy?

A3: In response to the potential impact on its tourism industry, the Maldives suspended the three deputy ministers involved in the social media debate and distanced itself from their remarks.


Q4: What are the implications of President Muizzu’s visit to Beijing for India-Maldives relations?

A4: During his visit to Beijing, Muizzu and China announced the elevation of ties to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership and signed 20 new agreements, indicating a pivot towards China and away from India, which could have further implications for India-Maldives relations.


Q5: How does domestic politics in India and the Maldives affect their foreign policy and diplomatic relations?

A5: Hyper-nationalism and the politicization of foreign policy issues by ruling parties in both countries have led to increased tensions and strained relations, as seen in the social media controversy and public reactions in both countries.


Q6: What historical and cultural connections exist between the Maldives and the Lakshadweep islands?

A6: Minicoy, an island in Lakshadweep, shares cultural, religious, and linguistic ties with the Maldives, including speaking the same Divehi language. The island has been a point of contention due to its historical rule by Maldivian kings and its decision to join India in a 1956 referendum.


Q7: What steps are needed to improve relations between India and the Maldives?

A7: Improved relations may require deft diplomacy, greater understanding of mutual concerns, and efforts to address issues such as hyper-nationalism and the politicization of foreign policy. Both nations may need to find common ground and cooperative projects that respect their shared history and cultural ties.

These FAQs provide a snapshot of the complexities underlying the India-Maldives relations, highlighting the impact of domestic politics, social media, and international alignments on bilateral ties.


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