Ever since the Malaysian Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, openly supported the stance of the Kashmiri people, India is caught in a fit. It is engaged in a diplomatic and verbal battle with Malaysia, trying to change their chance on Kashmir. However, the Malaysian PM is refusing to budge.
“We speak our minds, and we don’t retract or change,” Mahathir said in an engagement with reporters outside the Malaysian Parliament. “What we are saying is we should all abide by resolutions of the (United Nations). Otherwise, what is the use of the UN?”
This comes after Mahathir addressed the UN General Assembly meeting. In his remarks, the PM condemned India’s actions in Kashmir. Furthermore, he said that India “invaded and occupied” Kashmir. These words are like a thorn, continuously hurting New Delhi. In a bid to force Malaysia to change their stance, India is using trade as a weapon.
Trade Between India – Malaysia
Trade between the two countries amounts to billions of dollars. In the last fiscal year, Malaysia exported $10.8 billion worth of goods to India. Likewise, it imported $6.4 billion of goods. It is Malaysia’s palm oil products that India is threatening. India is Malaysia’s third biggest export market for palm oil products. Last year, Malaysia exported $1.63 billion worth of palm oil and palm oil related products to India.
The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India is asking its members to stop importing palm oil and related products from Malaysia. It is pressuring members to look for alternative markets. A statement from the Association reads as:
“In your own interest as well as a mark of solidarity with our nation, we should avoid purchases from Malaysia for the time being.”
Malaysia’s Response to the Threats
The Malaysian Government has not taken the threats lightly. Officials acknowledge that the current situation is not at all good for the palm oil industry. Mahathir remarked that Malaysia will carefully study the situation and come up with workable solutions. While referring to the Association’s threat, Mahathir said:
“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”.
In a bid to reduce the tension, Mahathir previously hinted at increasing imports from India. India has revoked Kashmir’s Special Status, resulting in strong condemnation from Pakistan and other countries.