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India's sports fraternity calls for nation to explore Indian Islands amid Maldives row

Published at :January 8, 2024 at 12:48 AM
Modified at :January 13, 2024 at 11:33 AM
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(Courtesy : Twitter)

Ajay Gandhar

Athletes like PV Sindhu and Sachin Tendulkar were among sportspersons who posted.

In a show of solidarity with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who visited Lakshadweep on January 4 and faced mockery from Maldives’ political leaders, several Indian sports celebrities have urged the country to explore and appreciate the beauty of Indian islands.

Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, badminton star PV Sindhu, and boxer Nikhat Zareen were among the prominent sportspersons who took to their social media accounts to praise the scenic and cultural attractions of Lakshadweep and other Indian islands, using the hashtag #ExploreIndianIslands.

They also shared their own experiences of visiting the islands and expressed their desire to return soon. Tendulkar posted a video of himself playing cricket on a beach and wrote, “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.”

Sindhu, who won a silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, said, “I have traveled around the world, but the beauty of Lakshadweep is unmatched. Saw the serene sights of the blue waters and the white beaches in the posts of PM Sir. I must plan a visit soon with my family. All of us are big fans of the sea.”

Zareen, who clinched a bronze medal at the 2023 Asian Games and qualified for the Paris Olympics, said, “Saw the wonderful photos of Lakshadweep posted by Honourable PM @narendramodi ji. Planning a holiday here post-Olympics. Till then, training hard and giving my best.”

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The sports fraternity’s support for Indian islands comes amid a diplomatic row between India and Maldives after the latter’s government officials allegedly made derogatory remarks about Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep and earlier asked India to withdraw its troops from the archipelago in December.

The Maldives’ Vice President Hussain Mohamed Latheef also attended the Indian Ocean Forum organized by China while skipping the Colombo Security Dialogue that involves India and other Indian Ocean states.

The Maldives’ decision to not renew the 2019 agreement under which India could conduct hydrographic surveys in its territorial waters was also seen as a snub to New Delhi.

Meanwhile, several Cricketers like Virendra Sehwag, Suresh Raina, and Amit Mishra also joined the discussion over Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep and the Maldives’ response. They have shared pictures and videos of the stunning beaches and coastlines of Lakshadweep and called it a better tourist spot than the Maldives.

They have also slammed the Maldivian leaders for their alleged “hateful and racist” comments on Indians and urged the country to boycott the Maldives and support Indian tourism.

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