Suspended Maldives Minister Mariyam Shiuna has apologised after deleting the controversial post.

Maldives Minister Apologizes Following Controversial Post Involving Indian Flag

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In a recent social media post that has since been removed, Mariyam Shiuna, a suspended minister from the Maldives, sparked outrage by sharing an image that allegedly disrespected the Indian national flag. The post, which featured an opposition party’s campaign poster with the Tricolour incorporated, drew condemnation from Indian social media users and calls for action against Shiuna.

Shiuna, a member of Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu’s ruling party, utilized her now-deleted post to advocate for her party ahead of parliamentary elections. However, the image she shared, where the party’s logo was replaced with the Ashok Chakra on the Indian flag, was deemed offensive by many.

The backlash prompted Shiuna to delete the post and issue an apology, expressing regret for any confusion or offense caused. She clarified that the resemblance to the Indian flag was unintentional and reiterated Maldives’ respect for its relationship with India.

This incident unfolds against the backdrop of strained diplomatic relations between India and the Maldives, which were exacerbated following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep in January 2024. Comments made by Maldivian officials, including Shiuna, towards India and Prime Minister Modi during his visit further escalated tensions.

Despite the diplomatic friction, India remains a significant economic partner for the Maldives, supplying essential commodities and serving as a major source of imports. However, recent events indicate a growing anti-India sentiment in the Maldives, particularly among factions campaigning on an “India Out” platform due to concerns about India’s military presence and influence.

Meanwhile, China’s increasing investment and influence in the Maldives add complexity to the regional dynamics, posing challenges for India’s interests in the region.

Amidst these developments, the Maldives has requested the withdrawal of Indian military personnel stationed in the country, initiating discussions between the two nations towards finding a mutually acceptable resolution. The first batch of Indian personnel has already left, with the complete withdrawal expected by May.

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