The Indian High Commission in Maldives has called for action against those disseminating false information aimed at undermining India-Maldives ties. The commission took to  X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday to express its unease and appeal for responsible journalism.

The Indian High Commission shared screenshots of what it claims are fabricated news stories, addressing its concerns to both the Maldivian Foreign Ministry and the Maldives Media Council (MMC). 

“We unequivocally reject fake news items being circulated on online platforms seeking to malign India-Maldives relations,” said the commission in a post. The embassy further called on the authorities to “take suitable action against those responsible and guide the concerned media to write responsibly and ethically.”

Among the false news reports flagged by the High Commission are claims that visa applicants are being questioned about their voting preferences in the presidential elections, that the High Commission and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) plan to hold an emergency joint press conference, and that Indian soldiers stationed in Hanimaadhoo, Haa Dhaalu Atoll, are inquiring locals about their voting choices.

The call for action comes against the backdrop of opposition criticisms over the current Maldives administration’s close ties with India. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s India-First foreign policy has been met with strong resistance from the opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), that successfully used its ‘India Out’ movement, to finish top on Saturday’s Presidential Elections. 

This isn’t the first instance where fake news has been a point of contention. The High Commission, just one day ahead of the election, debunked an alleged letter from the Indian government circulated on social media platforms.