India and the Maldives share a long-standing history of friendship and cooperation. Over the years, the two nations have stood by each other in times of crisis and have fostered a close relationship in various sectors, including tourism.
However, recent derogatory comments made by some deputy ministers on social media platforms against India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have sparked controversy and strained the bilateral ties.
India has always been a reliablee first responder to the Maldives’ crises throughout history. The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) strongly condemns the derogatory comments made by some deputy ministers towards India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In a statement, MATI expressed immense gratitude towards India for its unwavering support and assistance during challenging times. The close relationship between the two nations has played a pivotal role in the Maldives’ recovery efforts, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
India has been a consistent and significant contributor to the tourism industry in the Maldives. The country has played a crucial role in the Maldives’ recovery efforts after reopening its borders following the pandemic. India’s assistance and support have greatly aided the Maldives’ tourism industry in attracting visitors from around the world. The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry acknowledges India’s substantial contributions and considers it one of the top markets for tourism in the country.
The recent diplomatic row between India and the Maldives has had repercussions on travel platforms. EaseMyTrip, one of India’s largest online travel platforms, has suspended flight bookings to the Maldives in response to the controversy. The co-founder of EaseMyTrip, Prashant Pitti, expressed his solidarity with India and stated that the company would not accept any bookings for the Maldives.
Similarly, MakeMyTrip has witnessed a significant increase in searches for Lakshadweep, prompting the platform to launch a new campaign promoting the beaches of India for local travellers.
With Indians being the largest group of visitors to the Maldives, the ongoing spat between India and the Maldives poses a threat to the country’s economy. The strategic significance of the Maldives, situated west of Sri Lanka, makes it crucial for both nations to resolve their differences and maintain a strong relationship. The fallout between India and the Maldives comes amid growing tensions since President Mohamed Muizzu came to power in September last year.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has called upon domestic traders and exporters to refrain from conducting business dealings with the Maldives in response to the derogatory comments made against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. CAIT’s secretary general, Praveen Khandelwal, has deemed the remarks unacceptable and aims to express solidarity and disapproval against such disrespectful behaviour.
The Maldivian foreign ministry has acknowledged the derogatory remarks made by some individuals on social media platforms. However, it clarifies that these personal views do not represent the official position of the government. In response to the incident, the government has suspended deputy ministers in the youth ministry, namely Malsha Shareef, Mariyam Shiuna, and Abdulla Mahzoom Majid, for their posts against India.