India should be alert of the growing closeness between Maldives and China: Shashi Tharoor

15 Jan 2024 | 15:33
Shashi Tharoor-- Photo: Mint

Indian MP Shashi Tharoor has said that India should be aware of the close relationship between Maldives and China.

Shashi Tharoor said this in an interview he gave to India's 'Thuglak' magazine. In the interview he said China is trying to exert its influence throughout Maldives.

"The Maldivian government's close relationship with China should be watched very carefully." He explained.

Shashi Tharoor said there was no doubt that China was trying to influence the entire region.  He also said that This influence is increasing in India and every neighboring country without exception and  the government should be aware of the dangers of this.

He said Maldives  have the opportunity to strengthen relations with other countries as it did with India, but they would take action if some of the outcomes were detrimental to India's interests.

He also referred to the heated verbal exchanges between the two countries after three Maldivian deputy ministers criticized a video of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to Lakshadweep promoting tourism there, saying that the two country's foreign policy should not be discussed on social media. He also noted that there should be a stronger solution to such problems rather than solving it on social media.

Activists in both countries have exchanged heated verbal attacks over the issue and India has called for a boycott of Maldivian tourism. Some Indians have also hacked the website of the Maldives Juvenile Court and threatened the government.

The government has suspended the deputy ministers who's involved in this matter. They are Youth Ministry deputy ministers Malsha Shareef, Maryam Shiuna and Mahzoom Majid. The government has issued a statement strongly condemning the incident.

Amid heated tensions between the two countries, President Dr. Muizzu, met with reporters after his visit to China, said Maldives is not anyone’s backyard as India sees it, and, even if it is small, has no right to be bulled. He also asked the troops to be withdrawn before March 15.

A meeting of a high-level committee comprising a team of India and Maldives was held yesterday to discuss the issue. India agreed to fast track the withdrawal of Indian troops from the country, the Maldivian Foreign Ministry said. In the meeting, they also discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest and both countries expressed their desire to further strengthen relations.