NEW DELHI: Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's controversial tweet urging the Government of India (GoI) to 'invade' Maldives in case of 'rigging during elections' in the island nation has triggered a diplomatic tussle between the two countries.
According to reports, the Maldivian Foreign Office had summoned Indian envoy Akhilesh Mishra after Swamy's call to 'invade' the island country' to protect the Indian citizens in Maldives.
However, the same could not be confirmed by the official channels.
The Maldives is set to go to polls next month and Swamy's latest tweets have added fuel to already strained India-Maldives ties.
Though the Centre has distanced itself from Swamy's statement, the BJP MP is adamant that the Centre should invade the Maldives if Indians living there suffer due to rigging in elections there.
''Indian citizens in the Maldives can't be ill-treated. It's my opinion that India has the responsibility to protect its citizens for which invasion is necessary,'' Subramanian Swamy said on the controversy over his tweet that 'India should invade the Maldives if rigging of election takes place'.
Indian citizens in Maldives can't be ill-treated. It's my opinion that India has responsibility to protect its citizens for which invasion is necessary.I don't represent the govt:Subramanian Swamy on his tweet that 'India should invade Maldives if rigging of election takes place' pic.twitter.com/bPXukmiOZW
— ANI (@ANI) August 28, 2018
However, the BJP Rajya Sabha MP said that he 'doesn't represent the govt.'
Distancing itself from the controversy, the Centre on Sunday said that such an opinion is personal of Swamy and not the view of the government.
In response to a query on Swamy's comments, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, "The opinion expressed by Swamy in his tweet is personal. It does not reflect the views of the Government of India."
Swamy's controversial tweets came days after former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed expressed apprehensions that the forthcoming September 23 presidential elections in his country may be rigged by incumbent President Abdulla Yameen's party during a meeting with him in Colombo recently.
Swamy then tweeted, "India should invade the Maldives if rigging of election takes place."
Why is the present Govt of Maldives upset by my “If then” statement that if Maldive’s Sept 24th general election is rigged then India should invade that nation? Already Indians in that nation are fearing reprisals. We have to protect our citizens.
— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) August 26, 2018
Tensions between India and Maldives had escalated after New Delhi criticised the Yameen government for imposition the Emergency and urged it to restore the credibility of the electoral and political process by releasing political prisoners.
The Government of India had last month expressed concern over conducting elections in the absence of democratic institutions, including Parliament and the judiciary, and urged the incumbent government to work in a free and transparent manner so as to people's faith in the electoral system.
India had said it wanted "credible restoration" of the political process and the rule of law in the island nation before the elections were conducted.
(With Agency inputs)