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India-Maldives row: Dangers of hypernationalism on both sides

  • Published
    9th Jan, 2024

Context:

While Delhi's official response appropriately conveyed its displeasure via diplomatic channels, India's sensitive social media advocates exacerbated the situation.

Controversy Surrounding PM Modi's Lakshadweep Visit

  • Maldives' Provocative Remarks: Three deputy ministers in Maldives made offensive remarks against PM Modi's social media posts on Lakshadweep, sparking controversy.
  • Official Reaction: India's official response through diplomatic channels was tough and correct in conveying outrage.
  • Social Media Escalation: Indian social media warriors exacerbated the situation, hindering diplomatic freedom and risking strained relations in the region.

Dangers of Hypernationalism

  • Hypernationalism's Consequences: The controversy highlights the dangers of hypernationalism for India and Maldives, impacting their cooperation and straining relations.
  • Freedom of Action for Diplomacy: Hypernationalists limit India's diplomatic freedom and alienate regional friends, emphasizing the need for prudent and constructive engagement.
  • Maldives' New Government: The new Maldivian government, elected on an anti-India platform, risks harming its interests by needlessly provoking India.

Navigating Diplomatic Engagement

  • Blame on Maldives: The controversy originated in Maldives' offensive remarks, reflecting real hostility despite the president's subsequent actions against the deputy ministers.
  • Overreaction on Social Media: Calls to boycott Maldives are self-defeating, potentially benefiting China; India should focus on firm yet patient engagement with Maldives.
  • Long-term Strategy: PM Modi's Lakshadweep visit is a vital first step; boycotting Maldives diminishes India's leverage, emphasizing the need for sustained diplomatic engagement.
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