Kolkata: Former Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme condemned the derogatory remarks made by the now-suspended Maldivian ministers against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, citing a breach of good neighbourship principles and underscoring the importance of mutual respect and moderation in expression.
Expressing his views on the matter, Leterme highlighted the importance of managing geopolitical frictions peacefully through mutual understanding.
“The comments (by the Maldivian ministers) go against the principles of good neighbourship. Good neighbourship entails paying respect to each other, maintaining composure, and expressing oneself in a very moderate manner,” he told PTI on the sidelines of a programme.
Leterme expressed hope that geopolitical frictions in the region could be handled peacefully.
“In geopolitics, there are tectonic waves at play, leading to frictions. I hope all these frictions can be managed peacefully through mutual understanding. People can handle incidents in a respectful approach,” he said.
Diplomatic tension erupted between India and the Maldives on Sunday following derogatory posts made by three deputy ministers in Maldivian government against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Deputy ministers Malsha Shareef, Mariyam Shiuna, and Abdulla Mahzoom Majid were promptly suspended by the Maldivian government after India strongly raised the issue with Male.
The three deputy ministers had used disparaging comments against Modi for his post on ‘X’ following his visit to Lakshadweep, implying that it was an attempt to promote the Union Territory as an alternative tourist destination to the Maldives.
These remarks have faced criticism in India, with various celebrities urging people on ‘X’ to explore domestic tourist destinations instead of visiting the Maldives.
Leterme, who served as the Belgian Prime Minister twice, was in the city to participate in a programme organised by the Merchants Chamber of Commerce (MCC).