New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs in a special briefing said that the "India Out" campaign in the Maldives was based on "misinformation and false propaganda".

Munu Mahawar, High Commissioner of India to the Maldives said, "India Out Campaign based on 'misinformation and false propaganda and they do not reflect the views of people of Maldives. The campaign is led by the Maldives opposition led by former pro-China Maldives President Abdulla Yameen."

Notably, Yameen constantly targeted India for its presence in the Maldives for his own political gains.

Recalling the action taken by the Maldives govt in the aftermath of the Yoga Day mob storming incident, the Indian High commissioner to the Maldives said, "Yoga is an event that is celebrated all over the world (International Day of Yoga). In the Maldives also IDY has been celebrated every year since 2015 and Maldives had co-sponsored the resolution that recognized this day. This incident happened, it was an event jointly organized by the High Commission with the Government of Maldives and the govt and many political parties have condemned what happened. The government of Maldives has taken action and they have committed at the highest level that those responsible will be brought before the law."

A bill termed as 'Bill on combating actions affecting diplomatic ties established between the Maldives and Foreign countries' was submitted to the People's Majlis to stop actions that may adversely affect relations between New Delhi and Male.

Yameen known for his pro-China stance used the #Indiaout campaign to reinvigorate his political ambitions, taking an anti-India stand to make it a major political issue for the 2023 general elections.

Issues relating to the campaign were first red-flagged by former President and Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed. He submitted the issue to the Parliament's Security Services Committee (241 Committee) on January 24.

Maldivian Opposition's anti-India campaign has been met with sharp criticism from the government, which has launched a counter 'India First' policy to battle the 'false narrative'.

India and Maldives signed an agreement in February 2021 under which India was to develop the harbour of the Maldives National Defence Force Coast Guard at Sifvaru-Uthuru Thilafalhu (UTF).

Former President Abdulla Yameen and his supporters dubbed the agreement as a way through which Indian troops would be stationed in the Maldives and in the months to come launched the 'India Out' campaign on social media, accusing the Solih regime of compromising the sovereignty of the country.

It has been reported previously that the 'India Out' campaign might have to do with Yameen's close affinity with China.

Speaking about President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's current visit to India, Munu Mahawar said, "Our relationship has grown tremendously in the last few years. Today we saw the signing of a contract for the construction of 61 facilities in the Maldives. Very substantive outcomes have been achieved during this visit."

Earlier today, Solih had talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The two countries had an exchange of agreements.

"President Solih will depart for Mumbai tomorrow morning. There have been a series of high-level discussions between the two countries," said Munu Mahawar.

It is pertinent to note that this is President Solih's third visit to India. His first visit was in December 2018, soon after he became the President of the island nation. On April 2, 2019, he visited India to witness a cricket match in Bengaluru at the invitation of PM Modi.

Meanwhile, PM Modi also visited the Maldives in November 2018 to attend the swearing-in ceremony of President Solih and again visited the country in June 2019 on an official visit.

Both leaders have also met virtually in contact over the telephone. There is a close connection between the two leaders, said the Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives.

A series of high-level exchanges also took place between the two countries, the most recent being the visit of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who visited Addu City to inaugurate various projects.

As India looks to bolster its ties with two key neighbours in the Indian Ocean to counter China's influence, External Affairs minister S Jaishankar, during his visit to the Maldives, signed pacts on health and education besides discussing regional security and maritime safety issues with Foreign minister Abdulla Shahid at the Addu City.

"We remain committed to continue working closely with the Maldives and extend full support to not only deal with the health situation but also economic situation. PM Modi has reaffirmed that the Maldives occupies a very special place in our neighbourhood first policy," said Munu Mahawar.

"We have been working very closely with the Maldives to not only deal with health situation but also economic situation...u heard PM say India will be the first responder", he added.

"Relationship has grown tremendously in last few's time tested relationship but has grown in last few Prez Solih said, it's a model for the region (when it comes to the partnership during COVID-19)", added High Commissioner of India to the Maldives.

Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih will meet President Droupadi Murmu later today. He will be the first head of the state to meet the new President of India.