Several Indian celebrities have strongly criticized derogatory remarks by Maldivian leaders against India and expressed support for promoting Indian beach tourism.
This comes amid the row over derogatory and ‘anti-India’ remarks made by Maldives minister, leaders and other public figures after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the union territory of Lakshadweep.
Actor Akshay Kumar, in a strongly worded post on X, slammed Maldivian leaders for mocking PM Modi‘s visit to Lakshadweep, and comparing beach tourism in India with Maldives through “hateful and racist comments.”
The ‘Khiladi’ actor emphasised India’s role as a major tourist contributor to the Maldives while pointing out that India sends the maximum number of tourists to the island nation.
“Came across comments from prominent public figures from Maldives passing hateful and racist comments on Indians. Surprised that they are doing this to a country that sends them the maximum number of tourists. We are good to our neighbors but why should we tolerate such unprovoked hate? I’ve visited the Maldives many times and always praised it, but dignity first. Let us decide to #ExploreIndianIslands and support our own tourism,” Akshay Kumar posted on X (formerly Twitter).
Superstar Salman Khan heaped praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for visiting Lakshadweep and posting ‘cool’ and beautiful pictures from the island.
“It is so cool to see our Hon PM Narendrabhai Modi at the beautiful clean n stunning beaches of Lakshadweep, and the best part is that yeh hamare India mein hain,” the ‘Tiger 3’ actor posted on X.
Actor Kangana Ranaut also hit out at Maldives MP Zahid Rameez over his racist remarks against Indians and called him “crass and vulgarly racist”.
“Smell?? Permanent smell?? What!!! Suffering from massive Muslim phobia, even though belonging to the same community. Lakshadweep consists of 98 per cent of Muslim population, this prominent public figure from Maldives calling them smelly and lowly is rather racist and uninformed. Mr Zahid, Lakshadweep’s entire population is hardly 60 thousands people, which means it’s almost untouched, unexplored and unexploited natural island. For most people tourism is not just filthy luxury, it is rather exploration of nature, alignment with the source and above all experiencing and enjoying the raw, untouched beauty of virgin beaches. Shame on you for being so crass and vulgarly racist,” the ‘Queen’ actor posted on X.
Ex-cricketer Venkatesh Prasad also slammed Maldives Deputy Minister of Youth Empowerment Mariyam Shiuna for making derogatory remarks against India.
“A deputy minister using such language for our country. Maldives is a largely poor country largely dependent on upmarket tourism with over 15% tourists from India. India has very many unexplored beautiful coastal towns, and this is a great opportunity to develop many of them into tourist destinations,” Prasad stated on X.
Actor John Abraham also took to X to laud the specialities of Lakshadweep as a tourist site and echoed the idea of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava‘.
“With the amazing Indian hospitality, the idea of “Atithi Devo Bhava” and a vast marine life to explore. Lakshwadeep is the place to go,” the ‘New York’ actor posted.
Cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar also took to the social media platform and lauded Sindhudurg, the coastal town in Maharashtra and its beautiful coastlines and pristine islands.
“250 days since we rang in my 50th birthday in Sindhudurg! The coastal town offered everything we wanted, and more. Gorgeous locations combined with wonderful hospitality left us with a treasure trove of memories. India is blessed with beautiful coastlines and pristine islands. With our “Atithi Devo Bhava” philosophy, we have so much to explore, so many memories waiting to be created,” Sachin posted on Sunday.
Director Madhur Bhandarkar also praised PM Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep.
“Discovering the enchanting allure of #Lakshadweep through Prime Minister @narendramodi’s recent visit has left me utterly spellbound! Adding this hidden gem to the top of my travel wishlist,” he said in a post on X.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Union Territory of Lakshadweep on January 2 and shared several pictures, including an ‘exhilarating experience’ after he tried his hand at snorkelling.
In a series of posts on X, PM Modi shared pictures of the white beaches and the pristine blue skies and the ocean, and tagged them with a message that read, “For those who wish to embrace the adventurer in them, Lakshadweep has to be on your list.”
“Recently, I had the opportunity to be among the people of Lakshadweep. I am still in awe of the stunning beauty of its islands and the incredible warmth of its people. I had the opportunity to interact with people in Agatti, Bangaram and Kavaratti. I thank the people of the islands for their hospitality. Here are some glimpses, including aerial glimpses from Lakshadweep,” PM Modi posted on X.
“During my stay, I also tried snorkelling – what an exhilarating experience it was! For those who wish to embrace the adventurer in them, Lakshadweep has to be on your list,” he added.
Prime Minister Modi also laid the foundation stone for development projects worth over Rs 1,150 crore in Agatti on Tuesday.
Notably, Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu is considered close to China and he even ran the electoral campaign on the line of ‘India Out’. After coming to power, he has taken several steps that have been unconventional from the point of India-Maldives ties.
President Muizzu will be visiting China from January 7-12. This is his second foreign visit after assuming office following the visit to Turkey. Notably, he departed from a long convention by not visiting India on the first official visit.
Significantly, in December last year, the Maldives said it would not renew the Hydrographic Survey agreement made with India, a Maldives-based news website, The Press, reported.
The removal of Indian troops in the Maldives was the main campaign of Muizzu’s party. Currently, there are around 70 Indian troops, along with Dornier 228 maritime patrol aircraft and two HAL Dhruv helicopters, stationed in the Maldives.