Sunday, May 26, 2024 | Last Update : 04:36 AM IST

  Opinion   Edit  08 Jan 2024  AA Edit | Maldives: India Shows Soft Power

AA Edit | Maldives: India Shows Soft Power

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jan 9, 2024, 12:10 am IST
Updated : Jan 9, 2024, 12:10 am IST

Every country has a choice of its values, of what it wants to be and how it wants to be perceived but no nation.

Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu, perceived as “anti-India” and “pro-Chinese”, did some damage control by firing three of his ministerial colleagues. (Image:Twitter)
 Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu, perceived as “anti-India” and “pro-Chinese”, did some damage control by firing three of his ministerial colleagues. (Image:Twitter)

Every country has a choice of its values, of what it wants to be and how it wants to be perceived but no nation, which is sovereign, and intends to remain so, can afford to be weak. Quite aptly, given its strength and equally potent soft power, India escalated the row against neighbouring Maldives, both diplomatically, and through other means.

Taking a cue from the photo shoot shared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the scenic beauty of the little explored Lakshadweep, Indians in huge numbers took to boycotting their possible future plans of a visit to the Island nation, at least on social media.  

Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu, perceived as “anti-India” and “pro-Chinese”, did some damage control by firing three of his ministerial colleagues, Mariyam Shiuna, Malsha Shareef and Abdulla Mahzoom Majid, who had used unacceptable words and launched tirades against both India’s PM as well as Indian people.

Even as Muizzu departed for an official visit to Beijing, India summoned Maldivian High Commissioner Ibrahim Shaheeb in Delhi, leading to a quid pro quo summons being issued to Indian High Commission Munu Mahawar by Male.

Showcasing both Indian PM Modi’s influence and the power of networked Indian netizens, a travel app stopped taking any further tours booking for Maldives, and its CEO shared a video message saying that as an Indian app, they would instead use their energy and following to promoting Lakshadweep as a “better alternative”.

As Google confirmed, the entire issue led to a reportedly humungous augmentation of over 3,400 per cent online searches about tourism options in Lakshadweep by Indian tourists. Not surprisingly, given the physical proximity, most of the international tourists to Maldives are Indians, and tourism is the mainstay of their economy. It would, however, take some time to ascertain the real economic impact on tourism on the archipelago nation because of a soft Indian boycott.

However, India has been a good neighbour, who stood by the small country in the past, having helped it with a financial package during and after the Covid pandemic. Interestingly, Israel also supported India over the matter, albeit indirectly, hailing the “majestic underwater beauty and enchanting allure” of Lakshadweep islands.

Tags: maldives, maldives vs india, pm modi maldives issue, dc edit