NEW DELHI: In the wake of escalating diplomatic tensions with India, former Maldivian Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon has vehemently denounced a series of racist and derogatory comments from Maldivian ministers targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to Lakshadweep. Former Minister Maumoon's outspoken condemnation was coupled with a resolute call for de-escalation, urging a swift resolution to the inflammatory issue.
The former Maldivian foreign minister also delved into the impact of ongoing events on India- Maldives relations and the significance of the Maldivian president's recent visits to China and Turkiye. Responding to questions about President Mohamed Muizzu departing from convention and picking China and not India for his first state visit, the ex-foreign minister noted that while it has been a tradition for Maldivian presidents to make India their first foreign destination, the recent decisions to visit Turkiye and China are significant.
Maumoon strongly condemned elements of racism and derogatory comments, echoing the sentiments expressed by the Maldives' foreign ministry. She emphasised that while freedom of expression is valued, certain language used in recent events is unacceptable, urging for a responsible and respectful discourse between nations.
Reflecting on the historical ties between India and the Maldives, Maumoon acknowledged the strong bonds of friendship but highlighted instances of disagreements in the past. "Unfortunately, this has already happened. Though we have strong bonds of friendship, we have also had various times where we have not agreed on some issues and things have not gone very well," she also said. She emphasised the role of responsible citizens, politicians, and the media in de-escalating tensions and resolving differences, given the long-standing relationship between the two nations.
"When problems arise, we, as responsible citizens of our countries, and also, especially politicians and the media, can play a role in resolving such situations and de-escalate any tensions that have arisen," the ex-foreign minister of the Maldives added.
Maumoon also expressed gratitude for India's assistance in various sectors, including defence, health, culture, agriculture, and tourism. "Yes, I must say India has been one of our closest friends and supporters, particularly in the development of this country. I remember projects such as the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital and many other such landmarks. In the defence area, there has been close cooperation, as we already know," she said. She emphasised the special nature of the relationship and called for a swift resolution to the current crisis. Maumoon appealed to both the Indian government and Maldivian leaders to collaborate in de-escalating tensions and reaffirming the strong friendship between the two nations. On the recent controversial statements made by Maldivian ministers, Maumoon labelled them as "unacceptable." "I think I'm not excusing at all such language, but I believe that they do need guidance because they're young and they're new in such positions," she said.
She also stressed the need for prevention and emphasised the significance of respectful language in diplomatic discourse. She also expressed hope for continued collaboration, emphasising that friends may "not always agree on everything, but they are able to talk about the difficult issues." (ANI)