New Delhi: Senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday stuck to his guns regarding his comment on the Maldives that reportedly saw the latter calling up the Centre. Speaking to ANI, Swamy said, “Indian citizens in Maldives can’t be ill-treated. It is my opinion that India has the responsibility to protect its citizens for which invasion is necessary. I don’t represent the government.” He had taken to Twitter as well, asking why the Maldives’ government was upset with his remark.

A report in The Indian Express said that Maldives Foreign Secretary Ahmed Sareer summoned Indian High Commissioner Akhilesh Mishra on Sunday to convey Male’s “displeasure” at the tweet. The Maldives government has also submitted a demarche to the Indian government, expressing its shock at the statement. The meeting between Sareer and Mishra was followed by a meeting with ambassadors from seven countries, who were briefed by the government about the upcoming elections in Maldives which will be held on September 23. On August 24, Swamy had tweeted: “India should invade the Maldives if rigging of election takes place”. The tweet included a link to a Maldivian news report on a meeting between Swamy and former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed in Colombo.

Swamy is known for his controversial statements. Earlier he had called cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Sidhu of an “unstable mind” for accepting Imran Khan’s invite for his swearing-in ceremony as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. After Congress President Rahul Gandhi hugged PM Modi, Swamy had commented that the latter should get himself medically tested. He had remarked, “Rahul Gandhi should not have embraced the Prime Minister all of a sudden. What does it say about the protection of the Prime Minister inside the Parliament? This is absolutely unethical and such behaviour should be discouraged so that it does not happen in the future.”