India and Maldives Trade Barbs After Modi’s Beach Visit

It started with a postcard-perfect snapshot. An image of India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, lounging in a chair on a secluded white-sand beach, provoked heated words from officials in the Maldives, a tiny archipelago nation in the Indian Ocean.

Indians on social media reacted with a ferocious wave of indignation, causing ripples all the way to Beijing.

Mr. Modi had been posing for a series of pictures to highlight the beachy natural beauty of the islands called Lakshadweep, an Indian territory 150 miles from the mainland and just 100 miles north of the Maldives.

Lakshadweep is like a mini Maldives, with barely a tenth of the landmass of the more famous atolls to its south. The people on Minicoy, its southernmost island, speak the same language as they do in the Maldives, and preserve some of its oldest customs.

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