Indian traders are urging a boycott of business ties with the Maldives following offensive comments made by Maldivian ministers about Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) called on domestic traders and exporters to avoid conducting business with the island nation. CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal stated that the business community finds the remarks unacceptable and aims to show solidarity and disapproval through the boycott.
The CAIT “urged traders and exporters to refrain from conducting business dealings with the Maldives”. Mr Khandelwal and CAIT’s national president B C Bhartia said in a statement, “While international relations must be based on mutual respect and cooperation, derogatory comments aimed at political leaders can strain bilateral ties. The appeal emphasises the importance of maintaining diplomatic decorum and fostering positive relations between nations. The Maldives Government should tender an apology to India for the unacceptable utterances of its few responsible people,” as per ISN.
On Monday, the Maldivian ambassador to India was called to a meeting at the Ministry of External Affairs, expressing strong concerns about derogatory remarks made by Maldivian ministers against Prime Minister Modi on social media. In response, the Maldivian government suspended three deputy ministers on Sunday, identified as Malsha Shareef, Mariyam Shiuna, and Abdulla Mahzoom Majid from the youth ministry. These ministers had criticised the Prime Minister’s social media posts after his Lakshadweep visit.
The Maldives, located in the Indian Ocean, has a strong partnership with India and heavily relies on Indian products and services. In 2021, India exported goods and services worth $317.35 million (Rs 2,635.70 Cr) to the Maldives, making up 12.4% of the Maldives’ total imports. On the flip side, India imported $5.94 million (Rs 49.242 Cr) worth of goods and services from the Maldives. The major exports from India to the Maldives in 2021 included rocks and boulders valued at $26.21 million (Rs 217.84 Cr), followed by medications at $16.87 million (Rs 140 Cr), and aggregates and gravels at $4.41 million (Rs 36.7 Cr).