India Planning To Cut Imports From Malaysia For Hostile Kashmir Remarks

India could restrict imports of some products from Malaysia including palm oil, according to government and industry sources, in reaction to PM Mahathir Mohamad ‘s slamming New Delhi for its actions in Jammu and Kashmir.

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Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Friday he had not received “anything official” from India after Reuters reported that India was mulling restricting imports of Malaysian palm oil and other products. “That is only reported, but we have not received anything official,” Mahathir told reporters.

According to reports, Modi Government is looking for ways to limit palm oil imports and may place restrictions on other goods from the country, said a government source and an industry source who participated in discussions led by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on the planned restrictions.

The sources asked not to be named as the proposal is still under discussion.  Modi government was upset after Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad alleged last month at the United Nations that India had “invaded and occupied” Kashmir and asked New Delhi to work with Pakistan to resolve the issue.

The government wants to send a strong signal of its displeasure to Malaysian authorities, the sources said. India, the world’s biggest importer of edible oils, is planning to substitute Malaysian palm oil with supplies of edible oils from countries like Indonesia, Argentina and Ukraine, said the sources.

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Palm oil accounts for nearly two-thirds of India’s total edible oil imports. India buys more than 9 million tonnes of palm oil annually, mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia.

In the first nine months of 2019, India was the biggest buyer of Malaysian palm oil, taking 3.9 million tonnes, according to data compiled by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board. A spokesperson for India’s commerce ministry said the ministry cannot comment on things that are under consideration.