One Visit can also have Positive Diplomatic Implications!

In the last couple of days, India has given very strong messages at least twice to the whole world and the neighbours in general and China in particular without saying a single word! The first message was given in the Arabian Sea in Lakshadweep by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the second one was given in the Indian Ocean by the Indian Navy!

The present day government under President Mohamed Muizzu has come to power in Maldives by openly opposing and running ‘India Out’ during polls. But that was in the elections. However, since Mohamed Muizzu has come to power, Maldivian government has been tirelessly working on policies which are aimed at opposing in possible ways and giving as much possible space to China. Giving priority to China is an issue of foreign policy of Maldives but they were continuously insulting India in whatever possible ways and means.

India ignored initially but decided to respond to Maldives’ attacks but without acting against or uttering a single word against Maldives. Rather India decided to promote Lakshadweep as an alternative to Maldives as a vacation destination! So the Indian PM visited Lakshadweep which became a trending issue on the internet and Indians started showing interest in Lakshadweep. Seeing Lakshadweep a possible competitor, the Maldivian ministers started abusing India which went to the extent of insulting the Indian Prime Minister. It should be noted that Maldives’ economy is hugely dependent on India for revenues and supplies both.

In retaliation to abusive language, Indians started cancelling holidays in Maldives. As a result, Maldives was forced to accept that they cannot ignore India for anyone as India even without going against it can bring irreparable damage to Maldivian economy and society.

The second message in the Indian Ocean by the Indian Navy is even more important. A Liberian merchant vessel named MV Lila Norfolk was hijacked by armed men for ransom. The vessel had 21 crews; 15 Indians and 6 foreign nationals. The Indian Navy stepped in and INS Chennai successfully rescued all the crew members safely within a few hours. It was a very tall and loud statement by India to the whole world, India is the boss in the Indian Ocean and none can ignore India irrespective of Chinese efforts of dominance in the Indian Ocean through the String of Pearls strategy!

India has learned the subtle diplomatic language to give the strongest possible messages to the targeted receivers. The Indian PM Narendra Modi with just one visit to Lakshadweep has completely shaken the whole Maldives without India officially saying a single word against Maldives as India's most important the strongest soft power ‘Indian Citizens’ ensured that Maldives realizes its mistakes.

One visit by an effective and skilled leader can also have diplomatic messages and positive implications!

Rajeev K Upadhyay

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