Opposition parties in the Maldives have expressed concern over their government's 'anti-India stance,' emphasising the importance of maintaining a positive relationship with India.

Amid a diplomatic row between India and the Maldives, the two main Opposition parties in the Maldives on Wednesday expressed concern about their government's 'anti-India stance', further terming India as the 'most long-standing ally'.

This comes a day after the Maldives government said a Chinese ship, equipped to carry research and surveys, will be docking at a Maldivian port after being permitted by the Male government to make a port call for replenishment. Meanwhile, sources with the Indian defence establishment said New Delhi was keeping a close watch on the movement of the ship.

Speaking at a joint press conference, the two parties -- the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the Democrats said, "The current administration appears to be making a stark pivot towards an anti-India stance. Both, the MDP and The Democrats believe alienating any development partner, and especially the country's most long-standing ally will be extremely detrimental to the long-term development of the country."

"Consecutive governments of the country must be able to work with all development partners for the benefit of the people of the Maldives, as the Maldives has traditionally done. Stability and security in the Indian Ocean is vital to the stability and security of the Maldives," they said.

A row erupted after three deputy ministers of the Maldives posted derogatory comments against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the latter's visit to Lakshadweep.

President Muizzu suspended the three ministers after their social media postings, which stirred concern in India and called for a boycott by Indian tourists who ranked highest in numbers, followed by Russia.

Muizzu has also asked India to withdraw its military personnel from his country by March 15. According to the latest government figures, there are 88 Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives to help operate a Dornier aircraft and two helicopters provided by India.

In the latest, Muizzu made Beijing as his first port of call early this month soon after assuming office. Traditionally, New Delhi has been the first port of call for a Maldivian President.