The Maldivian government on Sunday distanced itself from a minister's "derogatory remarks" against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social media and said these opinions are "personal and do not represent the views of the Government" after opposition leaders slammed the "appalling language" used by the senior official.

In a statement on Sunday, the Maldivian Foreign Ministry said they were aware of the "derogatory remarks on social media platforms against foreign leaders and high-ranking individuals”.

"These opinions are personal and do not represent the views of the Government of Maldives,” it said.

A row erupted on social media last week when a minister and some other leaders in the Maldives used derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Modi after he posted a video of him on a pristine beach in Lakshadweep.

The Maldivian government said it believes that the freedom of expression should be exercised in a democratic and responsible manner, and in ways that do not spread hatred, and negativity, and hinder close relationships between the Maldives and its international partners.

It warned that relevant authorities of the Government will not hesitate to take action against those who make such derogatory remarks.

Earlier on Sunday, former president Mohamed Nasheed described the remarks as “appalling" and asked President Mohamed Muizzu’s government to distance itself from these comments.

"What appalling language by Maldives Government official @shiuna_m towards the leader of a key ally, that is instrumental for Maldives’ security and prosperity. @MMuizzu gov must distance itself from these comments and give clear assurance to India they do not reflect gov policy,” he posted on X.

Former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb “strongly condemned” the derogatory and racist comments made by a group of Maldivian politicians towards prime minister Modi.

"We established the Maldives tourism industry based on the principles of hospitality, tolerance, peace, and harmony. Through strategic positioning and collaborations with global brands and investments, including those from India, we have successfully positioned Maldives as a premier luxury resort destination,” Adeeb said.

“I strongly condemn any derogatory and racist comments made by a group of Maldivian politicians towards His Excellency PM Modi @PMOIndia and beloved citizens of India,” he added.

He commended the Maldives Government for distancing itself from the views expressed by these officials and emphasizing that they do not reflect the government’s position.

“Considering the global economic challenges and the vulnerability of the Maldives tourism industry and economy, it is crucial for us to maintain a friendly and humble approach while fostering positive relations, with all nations,” he posted on X.

Maldives National Party in a post on X wrote that it “condemns racist and derogatory comments made by a government official” against a foreign leader.

"This is unacceptable. We urge the government to take necessary action against those involved,” it added.

The Maldives is India’s key maritime neighbour in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and occupies a special place in its initiatives like ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and the ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’ of the Modi government.

(Except for the headline, this story, from a syndicated feed, has not been edited by staff)