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How India got Malaysian PM to remain silent on Kashmir

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New Delhi, Feb 06: Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad refrained from issuing any statement on the Kashmir issue during a joint press statement with Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan.

The Ministry of External Affairs told the Parliament that it does not expect any country to comment on issues such as Kashmir and the citizenship law as these are purely internal matters.

Pakistans Prime Minister Imran Khan, right, talks with Malaysias Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad

The joint statement by Malaysia and Pakistan merely said that Imran Khan had raised the Kashmir issue. The statement did not specify that both sides had agreed on the Kashmir issue. The Prime Minister of Pakistan briefed the Prime Minister of Malaysia on the illegal and unilateral actions of the Indian Government of August 5, 2019, the statement read.

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It appears as though the Malaysian Prime Minister refrained from making any statement in the backdrop of India issuing an informal advisory not to buy palm oil from Malaysia.

The advisory came in the backdrop of Mahatir making adverse comments on issues such as Kashmir and the new citizenship law, which India has maintained is a purely internal matter.

The commerce ministry earlier this month held a detailed meeting with edible oil industry stakeholders and asked them informally to avoid purchase of Malaysian palm oil.

India, the world's largest importer of vegetable oils, buys nearly 15 million tonnes annually. Of this, palm oil comprises 9 million tonne and the rest 6 million tonne is soyabean oil and sunflower oil.

"We import 30 per cent of the palm oils from Malaysia, while 70 per cent from Indonesia. Our refiners can import from Indonesia which produces much higher than Malaysia," the source said.

Indonesia and Malaysia are the two countries which supply palm oils. There would not be any extra cost to import from Indonesia as the product and price is same, the source added.

Malaysia produces 19 million tonnes of palm oil in a year, while Indonesia produces 43 million tonnes, the trade data showed.

"It does not make any difference for refiners to import palm oils from Indonesia when the product and the prices are same. Why would refiners take risk when the government has informally asked us not to buy," an industry source said.

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Instead of palm oils, India can think of increasing import of soyabean and sunflower oils to boost the domestic supply, the source added.

On December 20, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad had reportedly said,"I am sorry to see that India, which claims to be a secular state, is now taking action to deprive some Muslims of their citizenship."

"If we do that here, you know what will happen. There will be chaos, there will be instability and everyone will suffer," he said.

Earlier, Mahathir had said in the UN General Assembly that India had "invaded and occupied" Kashmir.

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