Malaysia PM Stands by Kashmir Comment Despite India’s Palm Oil Ban

The PM said Malaysia would study the impact of the boycott and look at ways to address the issue.

Published22 Oct 2019, 02:56 PM IST
India
2 min read

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad on Tuesday, 22 October, said that he stands by his criticism of India's actions in Jammu and Kashmir, despite Indian traders initiating a boycott of Malaysian palm oil, reported news agency Reuters.

Mahathir, in his address to the UN General Assembly last month, said that there may be reasons for India’s action in Jammu and Kashmir “but it is still wrong”. Jammu & Kashmir was “invaded and occupied,” he added.

The Indian government abrogated Article 370 in August this year, stripping the state of its special status.

Malaysia is the second biggest producer and exporter of Palm oil and India is the commodity's biggest importer so far this year, according to Reuters.

“We speak our minds, and we don’t retract or change. What we are saying is we should all abide by resolutions of the (United Nations). Otherwise, what is the use of the UN?” Mahathir told reporters outside Parliament.

India’s top vegetable oil trade body, Mumbai-based Solvent Extractors’ Association, on Monday asked its members to stop buying Malaysian palm oil after Mahathir's comments last month.

The PM said Malaysia would study the impact of the boycott and look at ways to address the issue.

“This is not the Indian government, so we have to find out how we can communicate with these people, because trade is a two-way thing and it is bad to have what amounts to a trade war.”
Mahathir Mohammad, Malaysian Prime Minister

The Indian government hasn't commented on the trade spat yet.

MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar earlier this month said India and Malaysia have traditionally enjoyed good and friendly ties and “We deeply regret these comments since they are not based on facts,” according to PTI.

Malaysia’s exports to India were worth USD 10.8 billion in the last fiscal year through 31 March, while imports totalled USD 6.4 billion, according to Indian government data, reports Reuters.

(With inputs from Reuters and PTI)

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