On the night of January 6, 2024, an unexpected disruption hit the online infrastructure of the Maldivian government. Websites belonging to various government departments, including the Office of the President and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, abruptly ceased to function. The incident, coinciding with a series of derogatory tweets targeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep, sparked widespread speculation regarding the cause behind this sudden outage.
Amid mounting suspicions of a cyber attack due to the timing and context surrounding the website shutdowns, the Maldivian government swiftly attributed the issue to a mere technical glitch. However, this explanation failed to pacify the growing chorus of voices on social media attributing the disruption to a retaliatory move linked to the earlier derogatory social media posts concerning Prime Minister Modi’s visit.
It is noteworthy that recently Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Lakshadweep and advised people to visit here before going abroad. Maldives’ attitude towards India has also changed a lot in recent times and its new President Muhammad Muizzu is considered a stooge of China.
The tension between Maldives and India had been palpable following the controversial tweets originating from Maldivian accounts directed at the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to the Lakshadweep islands. The disparaging nature of these messages caused significant consternation and drew sharp reactions from various quarters.
The abrupt halt of the government websites exacerbated this already strained situation. Many viewed it as a potential act of reprisal from external actors seeking to express displeasure over the derogatory social media posts. This perception gained traction as online discussions and debates surged across various social media platforms, echoing theories of cyber retaliation against Maldives for the offensive tweets.
Despite the initial outage and the subsequent suspicions surrounding its cause, the Maldivian government moved swiftly to rectify the situation. The affected websites were restored to their operational status, ostensibly resolving the disruption. However, the underlying tensions and the conjecture about the real reason behind the outage continue to linger, fueling further speculation and debate.