Intensify sending tourists to Maldives: President Mohamed Muizzu appeals to China amid ongoing diplomatic row with India

Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu on Tuesday urged China to ‘intensify efforts’ to send more tourists to his nation amid the ongoing diplomatic row with India over comments made by his ministers against PM Narendra Modi.

Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu urges China to intensify sending tourists to his nation. Photo Courtesy: Maldives President website

The Maldivian President is currently visiting China.

Speaking at the Invest Maldives Forum, he said: “The Government has plans to diversify the tourism product and offer new experiences. Initiatives include a top-tier school of hospitality and exploring sports, medical and cultural tourism.”

“China was our number one market pre-COVID, and it is my request that we intensify efforts for China to regain this position,” he said.

China’s contribution most significant in Maldivian history

He praised China’s Belt and Road Initiative and said it delivered the most significant infrastructure projects witnessed in the Maldivian history.

The Belt and Road Initiative, which was launched by China, is an infrastructure investment project aiming at improving connectivity, trade, and communication across Eurasia, Latin America, and Africa.

Muizzu said: “Maldives became an early party to His Excellency President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative in 2014 which has delivered the most significant infrastructure projects witnessed in the Maldivian history.”

He said: “BRI has indeed created land, ocean, and air, and digital connectivity channels truly transforming the way goods, capital, technology, and people move between partner countries.”

Maldives opposition MPs demand President Muizzu’s expulsion

Two opposition MPs of Maldives have demanded the sacking of President Mohamed Muizzu amid the ongoing controversy over critical comments made by the country’s ministers against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, media reports said.

Ali Azim and Meekail Naseems are the two MPs who have demanded steps to sack the President, who is viewed as pro-China, amid the brewing tension between the two countries.

India-Maldives diplomatic row

India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) summoned the Maldivian envoy to India Ibrahim Shaheeb on Monday (January 8, 2024) and conveyed strong concern over remarks posted on social media against Prime Minister Narendra Modi who posted pictures from Lakshadweep.

As per reports, the Maldives High Commissioner was seen arriving at the MEA office building and leaving a short while later.

The Ministry summoned the envoy amid the ongoing row between India and the Maldives over derogatory remarks made by Maldivian leaders against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep.

Maldives government’s reaction to Ministers remarks

The Maldives government has distanced itself from the remarks made by its ministers. Maldivian Minister of Foreign Affairs Moosa Zameer said that these remarks against foreign leaders are “unacceptable” and do not reflect the official position of the Maldives government.