Modi and the Maldives “beach off”
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new job is beach, and the Maldives aren’t having it.
In an attempt to boost tourism to Indian beaches, Modi posted some snaps of himself enjoying a vacation on Lakshadweep, an island chain in the Indian Ocean. Seventy nautical miles to the South, the Maldives – where Indian tourists comprise up to 11% of tourism revenue – took great offense, calling Modi ” a “terrorist” and a “puppet of Israel.”
A #boycottmaldives campaign flared up in response, with Modi’s cult following posting screenshots of their canceled trips to the island nation. Meanwhile, government officials, Bollywood stars, and cricketers have urged Indians to join Modi for a snorkel (with a life jacket on, of course) in Lakshadweep.The Barbie-worthy “beach off” comes at a contentious time. The two nations are strategic allies, but their relationship is strained by the new pro-China Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu tilting the country away from New Delhi and toward Beijing.