The Maldives said on Friday that articles in the local media making false accusations against the Indian mission and its staff could affect the long-standing friendly relations between the two sides, and that it was responsible for providing security for all foreign diplomats.
The ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has also expressed deep concern over what it described as “offensive and baseless remarks about Indian diplomats” in recent reports published by Dhiyares, an online news outlet.
The reaction of the ruling party and the Foreign Ministry came in the wake of the Indian High Commission sending a letter to the Maldivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs last Thursday to complain about malicious local media reports targeting the mission and its staff. The Indian side sought to open an investigation into the media reports and to provide additional protection for diplomats and the High Commission.
In response to a question about the matter at a regular press briefing, Ministry of External Affairs spokeswoman Arindam Bagshi noted that the Maldivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the ruling party had issued statements on the issue.
The Maldivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, without naming India, said in a statement in Dhivehi that it had taken note of the articles “which were repeatedly published on the local media, making false accusations against foreign ambassadors, missions and diplomats in the Maldives”.
These actions affect the decades-old friendly relations between the Maldives and friendly countries, and create hatred among the local population towards these friendly countries. This puts the diplomats’ lives at risk and hinders their diplomatic work, the statement said.
The 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations provides for immunities and privileges for diplomats, and the government of the Maldives is responsible for providing security for diplomats, their places of residence and their missions. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on local media to respect international agreements and “to present reports in a manner that does not affect relations between the Maldives and other countries”.
MDP has been more direct in its criticism of the recent reports in Dhiyares, urging the site and its co-founder Ahmed Azan to “refrain from dragging the Maldives’ diplomatic partners and allies into their petty political vendetta”. “The constant barrage of anti-India vitriol appears to be a well-financed, well-coordinated and orchestrated political campaign with the express aim of fomenting hatred against India, the closest ally of the Maldives,” the party said in a statement.
“These hate campaigns carry real security concerns for the safety and security of diplomats in our country,” he added.
Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed on Friday called for an end to the spread of hostility against India by opponents of the government and the Democratic and Development Party. He tweeted that “hostile” and “disrespectful” rhetoric against India is spreading in the Maldives.
Dhiyares and its sister news outlet, The Maldives Journal, have published articles with unfounded allegations against Indian diplomats in recent days. People familiar with the developments said on condition of anonymity that there has been a coordinated anti-India campaign in the Indian Ocean archipelago since the two sides signed an agreement in February to develop, support and maintain the Coast Guard port of Otoro Thila Falho, a key switch. offshore facility.
The Maldives does not have a navy and the Coast Guard operates as an armed naval component of the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF). There is strong maritime cooperation between the two countries, and in the past, New Delhi has provided patrol ships and surveillance aircraft to the multinational force.
India will support the development of the port, shipyard and other infrastructure, communications resources and radar services at Uthuru Thila Falhu and the training of Maldives personnel. However, MNF officials made it clear that no foreign military personnel would be stationed at the facility.