Diplomacy Politics

India downplays Maldives diplo drama

India has scotched rumours of a rift with the Maldives, saying the two countries enjoyed a close relationship with shared development and security interests.

External Affairs spokesman Raveesh Kumar made the remarks Thursday after a scathing anti-India editorial appeared on a Maldivian pro-government website.

The main opposition MDP, which condemned the editorial, described Vaguthu as a “mouthpiece of President Yameen whose editorials are routinely approved by the President’s Office prior to publication.”

The editorial, which has since been removed, called Prime Minister Narendra Modi an extremist and accused India of being Islamophobic towards its Muslim population.

“Frankly, there can be nothing which can be further from the truth as this article,” Kumar told the media in a weekly briefing. “I think this article should not be taken too seriously.”

He also rubbished reports that India had imposed visa restrictions on Maldivians and said the bilateral relationship needed to be looked at in a broader perspective, answering a question about the suspension of three councillors who met the Indian ambassador.

“We should look beyond these developments and we should have diplomatic discussions between the two sides to address any issue which exists between the two countries,” said Kumar.

His comments came as the Maldives Media Council said it would review content that could have a negative effect on foreign relations and national security.

The MMC said such content was a violation of the Defamation Act, Raajje reported.


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