The already simmering tensions between India and Maldives have escalated further after a tweet by Subramanian Swamy, BJP Rajya Sabha MP, calling for invasion of the country if the September 23 elections are rigged.
According to a report in The Indian Express, Indian High Commissioner to Maldives Akhilesh Mishra was summoned by Maldivian Foreign Secretary Ahmed Sareer who conveyed the country's displeasure at the tweet. The Maldivian government also issued a demarche to the Indian government expressing shock at Swamy's statement.
https://t.co/nazyiRCOKs: India should invade Maldives if rigging of election takes place
— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) August 24, 2018
Swamy tweeted on August 24 that "India should invade Maldives if rigging of elections takes place". The tweet also had a link to a news report about a meeting between Swamy and former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed in Colombo, Sri Lanka, early last week. After their meeting, Swamy had tweeted on August 22 that Nasheed feared that there would be gross rigging of elections and India being a neighbour can't allow that to happen. Swamy went on to say that an action plan is needed adding that the current Maldives President Abdullah Yameen had humiliated Indians.
In Colombo today I had a chance meet with Fmr Maldive President Naseed. He is apprehensive of gross rigging in their forthcoming election. India cannot allow that as a neighbour and also since current usurper President Yamin has humiliated Indians recently. We need an action plan — Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) August 22, 2018
Why is the present Govt of Maldives upset by my "If then" statement that if Maldive's Sept 24th general election is rigged then India should invade that nation? Already Indians in that nation are fearing reprisals. We have to protect our citizens.
— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) August 26, 2018
"The opinion expressed by Dr Swamy is personal. It doesn't reflect the views of the Government of India," said a spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs when asked to respond to the tweet.
Mishra also conveyed the same message to Sareer during their interaction.
On August 26, Swamy again tweeted on the issue, saying, "Why is the Govt of Maldives upset by my "If then" statement that if Maldives' general election is rigged then India should invade that nation? Indians there fear reprisals and we have to protect them".
Maldives is getting increasingly suspicious about India's role after Delhi expressed its displeasure over the announcement of the polls when democratic institutions, including parliament and judiciary, are not being allowed to work in a free and transparent way.
India is pressing the Maldives Government to restore political process and rule of law before elections are held and Swamy's tweet is being seen by Maldivians as a pointer to Indian strategy and a provocative statement from the ruling BJP party.
Relations between the two countries have spiralled downwards since February, 2018 when Yameen declared a 45-day emergency despite India's objections.