South Asia and Beyond

Modi Pitching Lakshadweep As Rival To Maldives?

 Modi Pitching Lakshadweep As Rival To Maldives?

Visuals of Prime Minister Modi snorkelling in the scenic Lakshadweep islands have gone viral on the internet. In fact, they seem to have coincided with reports of the Maldives preparing to welcome a Chinese vessel after throwing out the unwelcome mat to India.


The million-dollar question exercising netizens is whether the prime minister was sending a not so subtle signal from the Lakshadweep beaches: that while the Maldives at a little over one hour’s flight from Thiruvananthapuram is an easily accessed five star leisure destination, why not Lakshadweep, where the flying time is even less.

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The island boasts of fine largely untouched beaches, pristine blue waters and very limited tourist facilities. All of which points to enormous tourist potential. If properly developed, the island could rival the Maldives, drawing thousands of well-heeled visitors every year. There’s no reason why India’s hospitality majors would not want to come to Lakshadweep if proper incentives are offered.

Interesting to note that the prime minister inaugurated a submarine cable that promises uninterrupted internet. He said his government was committed to providing better healthcare, drinking water and enhanced development. In fact, Modi commending the beauty of this small crop of islands off Kerala, also noted: “For those who wish to embrace the adventurer in them Lakshadweep has to be on your list.”

So if the Maldives does not want India, why not India develop Lakshadweep to the point where it can be a competitor. The islands are too small to make for any strategic purpose. Tourism on the other hand, could be a game changer with strategic outcomes.