Maldives urges Indians to ‘please be a part of Maldives’ tourism’ amid strained ties

Due to increasing tensions between India and the Maldives, there has been a notable drop in Indian tourists visiting the Maldives. Tourism Minister Ibrahim Faisal is urging Indians to support the Maldivian economy, which relies heavily on tourism. In an interview, Faisal highlighted the historical ties between India and the Maldives and expressed the new government's intention to collaborate with India.

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"We share a long history. Our new government wants to work with India. We always promote peace and a friendly atmosphere. We will welcome Indian tourists with open arms. As Tourism Minister, I'm asking Indians to come and enjoy the Maldives' tourism offerings. Our economy depends on it," Faisal stated.


Social Media Tension Over Modi’s Lakshadweep Post

The drop in Indian tourists began after three Maldivian officials made derogatory comments about India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social media, following Modi’s January 6th post featuring images of the Lakshadweep Islands. The backlash prompted many Indians, including celebrities, to cancel their trips to the Maldives, leading to a substantial decrease in tourist numbers. This caused India to drop from being the leading source of visitors to the Maldives to the sixth position.

Maldives Tourism Affected by Indian Tourist Decline

According to a report on, tourist arrivals from India fell by 42% in the first four months of this year compared to the same period last year. The Maldives recorded 43,991 arrivals from India by May 4, compared to 73,785 during the same period last year. The steep decline is attributed to the strained relationship between India and the Maldives after President Mohamed Muizzu's administration took office in November of last year.


Strained Relations with India

The tension between India and the Maldives has been growing since President Muizzu, a pro-China leader, reaffirmed his commitment to removing Indian military personnel from the Maldives after his November inauguration. He ordered the removal of 88 Indian military personnel stationed at three aviation platforms that India had donated to the Maldives. Muizzu had previously accused India of interfering in Maldivian affairs and won the presidency in September with a campaign focusing on reducing Indian influence.

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Despite the ongoing strain, the Maldives remains a key maritime neighbor for India in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and plays an important role in Indian initiatives like 'SAGAR' (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and Modi's 'Neighborhood First Policy.'

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