Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen apparently snubbed India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj -- on her visit to the island to improve strained diplomatic ties -- when he told her that his government "will not tolerate foreign party's involvement in domestic issues".
A statement issued by the Maldivian President's office said: "Every country must be able to practice democracy without foreign influence. Our government is committed to upholding our democracy and rule of law."
The Maldivian president's statement came after Swaraj met him on Sunday during her visit to Maldives to re-start the joint commission after a gap of 15 years.
It was not clear whether Swaraj raised the issue of former president Mohamed Nasheed's imprisonment during her meeting with the incumbent.
Yameen's terse statement prompted the Congress to taunt the Modi government, with a party spokesperson saying: "Even Maldives is warning India. This when the foreign minister was on their soil." The leader was quoting from a report in The Manila Times.
Maldives is facing international pressure over 13-year imprisonment of former president Nasheed on terrorism charges a few months ago. Interestingly, Yameen did not make any reference to the conviction that was responded with criticism by the US.
The conviction had also prompted the cancellation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the country in March this year to convey India's displeasure.
The Indian side assured the Maldivian President of India's continued support to the Yameen leadership. Swaraj added that "India has always portrayed its solidarity with the Maldives at global platforms, and will continue to support Maldives in the near future as well", as reported by the Press Trust of India.
Swaraj was on a two-day-visit to the island country over the weekend. She also met her counterpart Dunya Maumoon and discussed future cooperation on "defence and ocean security".