President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has begun his trip of India. He was welcomed to India by a state minister.
Protocols and ethics observed by nations in bilateral relations dictate that a head of state must be welcomed a senior government official or a head of state.
In defiance of these protocols, President Solih was welcomed to India by Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, Dairying, and Fisheries Dr Sanjeev Balyan.
A Minister of State is a Junior Minister. Dr Balyan reports to the head of the Ministry, Parshottam Rupala, Cabinet Minister – who reports to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Balyan is an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. He was charged with offences under the Indian Penal Code sections 188 (violating prohibitory orders), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharging his duty) and 341 (wrongful restraint).
The defiance of protocol and ethics suggests an imbalance in diplomatic relations, a lack of respect, and a warning.
India has a history of belittling Maldivian government figures. As such, Indian Ambassador to UN had used Maldivian representative Dr. Munawwar as a table to sign a Maldives-sponsored resolution to the United Nations General Assembly.
Another instance of this was observed under this administration. India held a Defense Expo in Lucknow in 2020. A tweet by Indian High Commission’s official twitter, showed a meeting between Chief of Defense Force Major General Adam Shamaal and India’s Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat.
The picture was a clear indication of the differing treatment, in spite of both military personnel serving in the same rank.
When the tweet surfaced, many military personnel had expressed their dissatisfaction with the way the most senior army figure was treated.