PM Modi’s Lakshadweep Visit and Maldives’ Reaction: A Clash Unveiled

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January 8, 2024

PM Modi’s Lakshadweep Visit and Maldives’ Reaction: A Clash Unveiled


  • The recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Lakshadweep stirred unexpected reactions across Maldives’ social media platforms and government corridors. What seemingly began as an innocuous promotion of Lakshadweep’s scenic beauty swiftly escalated into a tense social media face-off between Maldivian officials and Indian social media users.

Provocation from PM Modi’s Post

  • Prime Minister Modi’s posts extolling Lakshadweep’s beauty lacked explicit references to the Maldives or any other popular island destination. However, Maldivian Deputy Minister Mariyam Shiuna and her colleague Malsha Sharif reacted with offensive, derogatory remarks, sparking a series of incendiary comments against India and its leader.

Escalation and Accusations

  • Maldivian officials and supporters unleashed a ‘Visit Maldives’ campaign, using picturesque imagery to counter India’s Lakshadweep promotion. Social media rhetoric veered into accusations of India attempting to compete with the Maldives in the tourism sphere. Amidst this, racist remarks against Indians and Indian tourists surfaced, leading to a volatile online environment.

Rooted Anti-India Sentiments

  • This recent outburst echoes historical anti-India sentiments in the Maldives, notably the ‘India Out’ campaign that gained traction in 2020, targeting various facets of India-Maldives relations. The present Muizzu government’s efforts to strengthen ties with China and its promise to remove Indian soldiers further fuelled tensions.

Criticism and Repercussions

  • While some Maldivian politicians criticized the officials’ conduct, the government’s initial response was deemed insufficient. Opposition leaders condemned the derogatory comments and urged responsible actions from the government. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs distanced itself from these remarks, emphasizing the need for democratic and responsible expression.


  • The unexpected spate of xenophobic and hateful comments directed at India and Indians in response to Lakshadweep’s promotion has raised concerns. Despite these inflammatory actions by a segment of Maldivian officials and supporters, wider bilateral relations are not expected to be significantly affected, given the historical cooperation and ties between India and the Maldives.
  • This clash, triggered by social media posts, sheds light on underlying tensions and sentiments, indicating the delicate interplay of geopolitical dynamics in the region.

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PM Modi’s Lakshadweep Visit and Maldives’ Reaction: A Clash Unveiled | Vaid ICS Institute