National Conference (NC) patriarch Farooq Abdullah has weighed in on the recent controversy surrounding derogatory remarks by Maldivian ministers against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In an exclusive interview with ANI, Abdullah speculated that the ‘rising hatred’ against Muslims in India might be linked to the controversy.
Expressing his confusion over the Maldivian leaders’ reaction despite India’s historical support, Abdullah stated, “India has always stood by the Maldives. So, I am at a loss to understand what prompted this controversy. Did the rising hatred for Muslims in the country have anything to do with this?” He emphasized that only the foreign minister could provide clarity on the matter.
Abdullah also highlighted China’s increasing influence in the Indian Ocean region and the Indian sub-continent, suggesting that it is evident not only in the Maldives but also in Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. He called for diplomatic efforts to resolve matters with China, reminiscent of the friendship during Jawaharlal Nehru’s time.
Meanwhile, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar supported PM Modi, stating that it is unacceptable for leaders in other countries to make derogatory remarks against the Indian Prime Minister. Stressing the need to respect the PM’s post, Pawar expressed that such comments should not be tolerated.
In contrast, Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge claimed that PM Modi has been taking things ‘personally’ since coming to power in 2014. He emphasized the importance of maintaining good ties with neighboring countries and adapting to the needs of the times.
The controversy arose when Maldivian junior ministers and government officials made disparaging remarks about PM Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep and his vision for developing the island cluster as a major beach tourism destination. In response, New Delhi registered a strong protest, and the incident led to numerous cancellations of scheduled visits to the Maldives.