MATI Condemns Disrespectful Remarks by Maldivian Officials Against India; Urges Maintenance of Positive Bilateral Relations

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The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) strongly disapproves of disrespectful comments made by some Deputy Ministers on social media toward India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and the Indian people. In an official statement, MATI expressed gratitude to India as a close neighbor and ally, highlighting India’s significant contributions to the Maldives’ tourism industry and its support during the COVID-19 recovery.

MATI emphasized the importance of maintaining a positive relationship between the two nations and urged against actions or speech that could harm this bond. The association acknowledged India’s role as a top market for the Maldives and wished for the enduring friendship between the countries.

The statement follows derogatory comments made by Maldivian Deputy Ministers on social media, leading to the suspension of some officials. Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the Union Territory of Lakshadweep and the subsequent promotion of its beaches for tourism were also mentioned, with some Maldivian officials making disrespectful remarks.

Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, currently in China, has chosen to strengthen ties with Beijing, opting to skip a visit to India. This decision has stirred diplomatic discussions, with China’s state media urging an open-minded approach to South Asian issues.

President Muizzu Urges Indian Troop Withdrawal in Recent High-Level Meeting with India

In response to the derogatory comments, Maldivian Member of Parliament Mickail Naseem called on the Parliament to address the lack of urgency and inaction by the government. Former Maldives Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi criticized the comments against PM Modi, citing India’s reliability as an ally providing assistance in various sectors, including defense, and warned against undermining the longstanding relationship between the two nations.

Due to the current situation, many Indians are canceling their Maldives tickets and are opting to book tickets to Lakshadweep instead. MakeMyTrip has observed a significant 3400% increase in searches for trips to Lakshadweep, reflecting the shifting travel preferences amid the tensions between India and the Maldives.

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