Male: Despite efforts to sabotage the India-Maldives bilateral ties by former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen, the relationship between the two countries still thrive, the Maldives Voice has reported.

The bilateral relations between India and Maldives relations have improved since Ibrahim Mohamed Solih took over as the president of the island-nation, the report added.

Recently, in August, the visiting Maldivian President signed a number of agreements to push the bilateral partnership, especially in the domains of infrastructure and connectivity, to the next level.

It was Solih's third visit since taking office.

Further, according to the Maldives Voice, former President Yameen constantly targeted India for its presence in the Maldives, for his own political gains.

During the 2018 presidential elections, there was a huge buzz in the country's social media space around #IndiaOut, it said, adding that "still, such hashtags couldn't save the government from falling."

Corruption charges against Yameen were filed in February 2019 and the trial began in July of the same year, the Maldives Voice said, adding that a month ahead of Yameen's conviction in the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) corruption case, a website was created to mobilise support for Yameen.

The former Maldivian president, 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, the Voice reported.

As soon as Yameen's money laundering trial began in July 2019, the #IndiaOut campaign started creating a buzz, it said, adding that the number of #IndiaOut tweets showed a drop in June 2020, but the volume started going up again in July of the same year.

"It is safe to assume that #India Out was triggered for the political benefit of Yameen. Each time Yameen was found in a compromised position, the social media would be amplified with anti-India sentiments," the Voice reported.

"Also, the copy-paste mechanisms that were used in #Wakeupnow, #handsOffMaldives, and #IndiaOut indicate that the campaign on Twitter is organised around a few users (affiliated with the opposition) with relatively fewer original tweets that are retweeted," it reported.

Between March and October in 2002, the total number of #IndiaOut tweets was 33,600 and only 1,476 Twitter users were engaged in it, the Voice claimed, adding that as compared to the 2021 data, the number of tweets under #IndiaOut reduced by 1,572.

Meanwhile India, in August, reacted to the social media campaign saying the #IndiaOut campaign was based on "misinformation and false propaganda".

Munu Mahawar, the Indian high commissioner to the Maldives, was quoted as saying, "The #IndiaOut Campaign was based on misinformation and false propaganda and do not reflect the views of the people of Maldives. The campaign is led by the Maldivian Opposition led by former pro-China Maldives president Abdulla Yameen."