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India seeks Maldivian govt. action on ‘repeated attacks’ in media

India has sought Maldivian government action on persons behind media reports and social media posts “attacking the dignity” of its resident diplomats, while seeking greater security for the officials.

In a letter that has raised eyebrows within the Maldives, the High Commission of India said the “repeated attacks” were “motivated, malicious and increasingly personal”. Urging the Foreign Ministry to take steps to “ensure enhanced protection” of the Mission and its officials, the letter from the Indian High Commission, dated June 24, urged Maldivian authorities to “ensure action, in accordance with International Law and Maldivian Law” against the perpetrators for “these gross violations” of the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations.

Official sources in Male confirmed the authenticity of the letter, which was leaked and has since been shared on social media. However, neither the Foreign Ministry nor the High Commission of India responded on the development, when The Hindu sought comment.

While India-Maldives ties came under considerable strain during former President Abdulla Yameen’s term, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s government is seen to be a close ally of India, with enhanced development and defence cooperation since 2018. However, some government critics in the Maldives are wary of greater military ties with India that they see as paving way for “boots on the ground”. In May this year, an apparently premature announcement made in New Delhi, on the Cabinet clearing a proposal to set up a second mission in the Indian Ocean Archipelago, sparked concern among sections, prompting a renewed “#Indiaout” campaign on Maldivian social media.

In its recent letter, the High Commission of India said the “repeated attacks” were undertaken to “create enmity and hatred between the people and Government of Maldives, and the people and Government of India”. “These articles and social media posts are attempts to incite hatred against India, the High Commission and members of its diplomatic staff.”

While Male is yet to comment, sources said the Parliament has asked the country’s Media Council, a self-regulatory body for media outlets, to look into the matter.

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