On 15th October, it was reported that Malaysia was considering hiking the import of buffalo meat and crude sugar from India. On Wednesday, 16th October, Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad was quoted by state news agency Bernama as saying that the south-east Asian country would try and resolve any potential conflict through diplomatic avenues.
Malaysia’s stand comes after irked Indian government authorities, following Mohamad’s criticism on its decision to close down Kashmir at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), hinted at stopping palm-oil imports from the nation.
India is the third-biggest importer of Malaysian palm oil. The country’s palm-oil exports are second only to Indonesia’s. Mohamad said, “If the (Indian) government launched a boycott or something like that, then we will have to work diplomatically or reduce the kind of action that they have taken”.
Currently, amid worries of any potential ban on Malaysian palm-oil imports, there has been a stop on palm-oil purchases by Indian businessmen. Countering this as a decision made solely by the business community, Mohamad said, “This is the reaction from the business community.
Hence, we cannot react to their personal decisions”. India’s exports to Malaysia stand at around $6.4 billion while its imports from Malaysia are placed at around $10.8 billion. India’s decision on Kashmir has been severely criticised, including the United States, and next-door neighbour Pakistan that also stakes a claim on Kashmir.