India on Monday summoned Maldives High Commissioner Ibrahim Shaheeb amid the row over Maldivian ministers' objectionable remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his 'Visit Lakshadweep' pitch. Visuals on social media showed the Maldivian envoy reaching the south block of the External Affairs Ministry in Delhi and later leaving the venue.
Ibrahim Shaheeb was conveyed strong concern over the derogatory remarks against PM Modi, news agency PTI reported.
The Maldivian envoy's visit to the foreign ministry's office came a day after the Maldives distanced itself from its ministers - Malsha Shareef, Mariyam Shiuna and Abdulla Mahzoom Majid - and highlighted the remarks were their "personal" views and did not represent Male.
The remarks have caused a meltdown on social media, with #BoycottMaldives trending on X and Indians backing PM Modi's pitch for promoting Lakshadweep tourism. Several Indian celebrities, including Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, Hardik Pandya and others, have rallied in support of PM Modi. The controversy has led to Indians cancelling Maldives trips as numerous such posts have surfaced on social media.
On Sunday, India raised the row with the Maldivian government. The Indian High Commissioner in Male took up the matter with the Maldivian government led by President Mohamad Muizzu, who is considered to be pro-China. Later, the Maldives issued a statement, distancing itself from the ministers' remarks, saying the "opinions (are) personal" and do not represent the views of Male.
Several former Maldivian leaders, including former Presidents Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Mohamed Nasheed, condemned the ministers' remark, emphasising that such statements should not hinder the "age-old" friendship between the two nations.
Maldivian President Muizzu is yet to make a statement on the controversy.