After derogatory comments by Maldivian leaders mocking Prime Minister Modi’s recent visit to the Lakshadweep islands,

Indian celebrities have rallied behind calls to promote domestic tourism over the Maldives

. Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Kangana Ranaut, and other Bollywood stars took to social media urging people to “explore Indian islands” like Lakshadweep instead.

Using hashtags like #ExploreIndianIslands, they highlighted the archipelago’s pristine beaches and marine life. This celebrity advocacy comes amid calls to boycott the Maldives over the offensive remarks. The famous faces aim to pivot Indians towards experiencing the natural beauty in their own backyard.

With stunning pictures and praise, the stars look to boost tourism to domestic destinations like Lakshadweep.


Maldives vs Lakshadweep: What is the controversy?

What is the controversy

The Spark: Modi’s Lakshadweep Visit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently visited the Lakshadweep islands and shared pictures of himself enjoying the pristine beaches and marine life there. This prompted some of his supporters to compare Lakshadweep to the Maldives, a popular beach destination for Indian tourists. Some even called for Indians to vacation in Lakshadweep instead of the Maldives.

Backlash from Maldives

The comparisons between Lakshadweep and the Maldives sparked an angry backlash from Maldivian politicians. Mariyam Shiuna, a Deputy Minister, allegedly called PM Modi a “clown” and “puppet of Israel” in now-deleted social media posts. Another Maldivian politician shared a picture of an entirely different tropical location while boasting about Maldives’ beauty.

India Reacts

As tensions escalated, the Maldivian government suspended the politicians responsible for the most offensive remarks. The Confederation of All India Traders called for suspending business ties with the Maldives in protest.

Akshay Kumar

Sharing screenshots of the offensive remarks, Kumar expressed surprise that Maldives was antagonizing India despite the country providing them a majority of their tourists. While stating he has appreciated Maldives in the past, he asserted “dignity first” and called for Indians to instead visit domestic island destinations like Lakshadweep.

Kangana Ranaut

Similarly, Ranaut blasted the Maldivian minister for exhibiting “Muslim phobia” even though Lakshadweep itself is 98% Muslim. She labeled the remarks “crass” and “vulgarly racist.” Salman Khan and Shraddha Kapoor directly praised Modi’s Lakshadweep visit and advocated that Indians explore the archipelago’s “clean and stunning beaches.”

Sachin Tendulkar

Even cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar joined the fray by sharing a video of himself playing beach cricket in India. He highlighted the nation’s “beautiful coastlines and pristine islands” as well as its hospitality towards visitors. Film stars like John Abraham also lauded Lakshadweep’s marine life and called it the “place to go.”

The vocal advocacy from top celebrities comes at a heated time between the public of both nations. As the Maldives government has distanced itself from the insulting comments without quelling the outrage, celebrities have stepped in to pivot the conversation. Instead of retaliation, stars are responding to the undiplomatic remarks by passionately promoting India’s own tourism gems.

Their social media endorsements of Lakshadweep in particular may bring the relatively obscure destination into the mainstream while supporting the country’s wider travel industry. More Indian public figures are expected to eulogize domestic tropical getaways as tensions between the two island neighbors continue simmering.

Ongoing Spat

While the Maldivian government has officially distanced itself from the insults to PM Modi, tensions continue between Indian social media users and Maldivian politicians. The row has sparked a debate over whether Lakshadweep can rival the Maldives in attracting Indian tourists. However, with Indian celebrities now urging people to vacation domestically, the spat may bring Lakshadweep into the spotlight.

Why Maldives is boycotted by India?

Controversial Remarks Against Modi Spark Row

The call to boycott the Maldives began after Maldivian Minister Mariyam Shiuna allegedly made derogatory remarks against PM Narendra Modi on social media. She called him a “clown” and “puppet of Israel” in now-deleted posts after Modi visited the Lakshadweep islands. Her comments came as some of Modi’s supporters were comparing Lakshadweep to the Maldives and even calling for an Indian tourism boycott of the island nation.

Backlash in India

Shiuna’s offensive comments provoked anger across India. The Confederation of All India Traders called for suspending business ties with the Maldives in protest. Indian celebrities like Akshay Kumar and Kangana Ranaut highlighted the natural beauty of Lakshadweep and other Indian destinations, urging people to vacation domestically instead.

Government Response

While the Maldivian government was quick to distance itself from Shiuna’s remarks, tensions continue to simmer. The government suspended her along with two other Maldivian politicians who mocked Modi’s visit. However, the damage was already done in terms of public relations.

Impact on Tourism

The boycott calls come even as India contributes hugely to Maldives’ tourism revenue. Prior to the covid pandemic, over 200,000 Indians visited the islands annually. The row has now cast uncertainty over Indian tourist traffic to the Maldives. It remains to be seen whether the Shuina controversy and Indian celebrity advocacy for domestic travel leads to an actual tourism boycott.

Ongoing Debate

The spat has also sparked a debate within India on whether Lakshadweep can serve as a viable alternative to the Maldives. While the scale differs vastly currently, some argue Lakshadweep has untapped potential. The Indian celebrities highlighting the region’s beauty have brought it into the public eye. But it’s uncertain if this alone will divert visitors or hit Maldivian tourism.


Famous Indian stars have used the fight with Maldives leaders to instead highlight Lakshadweep islands. On social media, they are telling Indians to holiday at these beautiful Indian beaches rather than Maldives.

This big celebrity push to send Indian tourists to Lakshadweep may actually work. It has made the unknown Lakshadweep famous all over India. The fight has actually helped India find a new place for Indian tourists to enjoy their holidays!

Janhavi Dalavi is a digital nomad who has turned her passion for exploring the world into her profession. She has packed her life into a backpack to take the road to adventure and excitement. She is a solo backpacker who never leaves without her camera and guitar.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Contact Us