RSTV – THE BIG PICTURE ANALYSIS : INDIA’S TRADE DIPLOMACY WITH MALAYSIA, TURKEY
The Topic covers GS paper 2[Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests.]
- India is planning to cut some imports from Turkey and widen curbs on palm oil from Malaysia to oil, gas and other products, news agency Reuters reported.
- India is the world’s biggest buyer of edible oils, and has already effectively stopped importing palm oil from Malaysia by asking importers to look elsewhere.
What is the Background?
- According to the report, New Delhi is now planning to restrict buying of petroleum, aluminium ingots, liquefied natural gas, computer parts and microprocessors from Malaysia.
- The same report goes on to add the government is also planning to cut imports of oil and steel products from Turkey.
- Meanwhile, another Reuters report said Malaysia will use diplomatic channels to try and resolve concerns over the palm oil exports.
- Malaysia's minister of primary industries told an industry conference that "This year, Malaysia foresees more challenges in some of its major markets”.
What are the recent trends?
- After stopping palm oil imports from Malaysia, India is now planning to restrict buying of petroleum, aluminium ingots, liquefied natural gas, computer parts and microprocessors from the Southeast Asian country.
- India is planning to cut some imports from Turkey and widen curbs on palm oil from Malaysia to oil, gas and other products, government officials said, targeting the two Muslim-majority countries for their criticism of India's policy towards Kashmir.
- India, the world's biggest buyer of edible oils, has already effectively stopped importing palm oil from Malaysia by asking Indian importers to look elsewhere.
- New Delhi is now planning to restrict buying of petroleum, aluminium ingots, liquefied natural gas, computer parts and microprocessors from Malaysia, the two government officials, who did not wish to be identified, told Reuters.
- The government is also planning to cut imports of oil and steel products from Turkey, one of the officials said.
Why this move against Malaysia?
- Muslim-majority Kashmir is claimed in whole by India and Pakistan and ruled in part by both.
- Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said recently Hindu-majority India was "invading and occupying the country" of Jammu and Kashmir and Turkey's Tayyip Erdogan had said Kashmiris are "virtually under blockade".
- The Indian government withdrew the autonomy of Kashmir last year to tighten its grip on the region, shutting down internet access and detaining activists and politicians.
- India's Supreme Court last week ruled an indefinite shutdown of the internet in Kashmir was illegal.
- Tension between India and Malaysia, the world's second-biggest producer and exporter of palm oil after Indonesia, further escalated after 94-year-old Mahathir criticised India's new citizenship law that critics say discriminates against Muslims.
Why this move against Turkey?
- Turkey meanwhile has sided with Pakistan on issues such as its membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which oversees the export of goods that can be used for nuclear weapons manufacturing.
- Turkey is also against the blacklisting of Pakistan by the world financial watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force, to curb its alleged financing of terror, something India has been lobbying for hard.
- Indian trade data indicates that overall imports from both Malaysia and Turkey had already taken a hit last year.
Ankara and Kuala Lumpur are key regional capitals that India shouldn’t alienate. Mahathir and Erdogan are headstrong leaders who can’t be browbeaten, but also are erudite minds amenable to reasoning. The bottom line, of course, is that the appalling J&K situation normalises during the next four-month period, as PM Modi has promised.