Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday he would not retract his criticism of New Delhi’s actions in the disputed region of Kashmir even though Indian traders have urged a boycott of Malaysian palm oil.The impasse could exacerbate what Mahathir described as a trade war between the world’s second biggest producer & exporter of the commodity & its biggest buyer so far this year.
India’s top vegetable oil trade body on Monday asked its members to stop buying Malaysian palm oil after Mahathir said at the U.N. General Assembly last month that India had invaded & occupied Kashmir, a disputed Muslim-majority region also claimed by Pakistan.Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government removed the long-standing autonomy of India’s portion of the Kashmir valley on August 5, calling it an internal matter & criticizing countries that have spoken out against the move.
“We speak our minds & we don’t retract or change” Mahathir told reporters outside parliament.
“What we are saying is we should all abide by resolutions of the United Nations.Otherwise, what is the use of the U.N.?”
The U.N. Security Council adopted several resolutions here in 1948 & in the 1950s on the dispute between India & Pakistan over Kashmir including 1 which says a plebiscite should be held to determine the future of the region.Mahathir said Malaysia would study the impact of the boycott called by the Mumbai-based Solvent Extractors’ Association of India & look at ways to address the issue.
New Delhi has so far refused to comment on the trade spat.“This is not the Indian government so we have to find out how we can communicate with these people because trade is a 2-way thing & it is bad to have what amounts to a trade war” Mahathir said.
In a separate statement, Malaysia’s Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said the country viewed the call for a boycott with great concern.