India-Maldives row

India-Maldives row

This article covers ‘Daily Current Affairs’ and the topic details of ‘ India-Maldives row.’ This topic is relevant in the “India and its neighborhood” section of the UPSC CSE exam.


UPSC Mains GS-2 Syllabus : India and its neighborhood


Why in the News?

Three deputy ministers were suspended by the Maldives government after they slandered Prime Minister Modi on social media platforms. The issue for Social Media spat between Maldives and India was tourism.


Background of Spat

  • It began when the Indian Prime Minister posted a number of tweets on X encouraging travellers to visit the Lakshadweep islands.Although the PM did not mention the Maldives or other island nations in his posts on Twitter, rather focus was on the beauty of Lakshadweep.
  • However, a few well-known Maldivian social media users replied to it with insulting, xenophobic, racist, and disparaging remarks.Both the Indian PM and all Indians were the target of these remarks.
  • The three Ministers from the Maldives were also among those people.
  • Social media users in the Maldives started accusing India of trying to compete with them as a destination for travellers seeking a tropical holiday.
  • Some other social media users were also prompted by these tweets to make a variety of racist comments directed towards Indians and Indian visitors to the Maldives.


Anti-India protests in Maldives :

  • Since the 2020 launch of the “India Out” campaign, which was led by former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom, anti-Indian views have been prevalent.
  • The campaign’s supporters had stated that it was launched as a protest against what they saw to be the deployment of Indian armed forces in the nation.
  • President Muizzu said in December 2023 during the COP28 climate summit that the Indian government had decided to remove its soldiers from the Maldives .
  • These Indian soldiers were in the Maldives to oversee and control a Dornier aircraft that India had donated to the Maldives, as well as two helicopters.


Maldives’ dependability on tourism

  • The Maldives’ economy is heavily reliant on tourism, which generates more than 28% of its total revenue.
  • There will be over 200,000 Indian tourists to the Maldives in 2023, accounting for a sizable portion of the tourism industry,followed by the tourists from Russia and China.


India’s Response

Requesting for Boycott: A number of Indian users urged that hotels and resorts in the Maldives must be boycotted.
Celebrity Support: In reaction to the controversy, Bollywood stars and Indian athletes launched the “Visit Lakshadweep” campaign.


About Lakshadweep :

  • Lakshadweep is an archipelago of 36 islands covering an area of 32 square kilometres.
  • Its capital is Kavaratti, which is also Lakshadweep’s important town.
  • The majority of islands are coral reef atolls produced by coral reefs that encircle a lagoon.
  • Except for Minicoy, inhabitants of the remaining islands speak Mahl, which is written in Divehi script and is also spoken in the Maldives,
  • Malayalam is also spoken on all of the islands.
  • Lakshadweep’s climate is tropical, with a warm and moist climate year-round.



Geographical location

It is located between 8º- 12º13′′ minutes North latitude and 71º – 74º East longitude, while 250 to 440 kilometres from Kochi, Kerala.
The 8º Channel serves as the maritime boundary between the Maldives and Minicoy (India).
The island of Minicoy is separated from the majority of the Lakshadweep islands by the 9º Channel.


Importance of Lakshadweep for India :

  • Because of its closeness to major international shipping routes, its importance for India strengthens.
  • The islands serve as a base of operations for the Indian Navy and Coast Guard.
  • Lakshadweep is part of India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which grants the government rights to explore and use marine resources in the surrounding waters.
  • Lakshadweep’s scenic splendour makes it a favourite spot for travellers.
  • Lakshadweep’s coral atolls and surrounding waters are host to a wide range of varied marine life, including coral reefs and many fish species.


Conclusion :

The situation illustrates the significance of neighbourly contact that is respectful and diplomatic. Although experts believe that the actions of a few individuals are unlikely to have a negative effect on India-Maldives bilateral relations.


Prelims practice Questions :


Q1) Which channel lies to the north of Lakshadweep and separates it from the Indian mainland?
a) Ten Degree Channel
b) Nine Degree Channel
c) Eight Degree Channel
d) Minicoy Channel

Answer: B

Q2): What environmental factor is essential for coral reef growth and development?

A) Extremely low temperatures
B) High salinity
C) Insufficient lighting
D) Water temperatures that are warm


Answer: D

Q3): Coral reefs are known as the “rainforests of the sea” because of their ability to:

A) A lot of birds
B) Rich biodiversity
C) Heavy rainfall
D) Height above sea level


Answer: B


Mains practice question :

Q1) What is India out campaign in Maldives and how does it impact India-Myanmar relations?

Q2) Examine the influence of climate change on India-Maldives ties, especially in light of rising sea levels and environmental challenges. How have the two countries worked together to tackle and minimise these problems?

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