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India turns up heat on Malaysia, Turkey for supporting Pak on FATF, Kashmir

For the present, the Indian government is content to allow popular discontent to show itself as traders stop buying Malaysian palm oil. India has also barred Turkish defence company Anadolu Shipyard from the huge Indian defence market.

Updated: Oct 20, 2019, 10.31 AM IST
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Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad
(This story originally appeared in on Oct 20, 2019)
NEW DELHI: Turkey and Malaysia are feeling the heat of India's ire as New Delhi weighs leveraging its market and economic muscle to retaliate against the two for their public statements on Kashmir as well as support to Pakistan at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

For the present, the Indian government is content to allow popular discontent to show itself as traders stop buying Malaysian palm oil and social media trends with #boycottmalaysia.

Reports have quoted industry representatives as saying Indian importers and refiners are moving palm oil purchases from Malaysia to Indonesia. India is the world's largest buyer of palm oil. The government will watch for reactions from Malaysia before taking the next step.

Putting a brave face on it, Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad was quoted as saying that his government would "work diplomatically" with India to resolve the trade problems if indeed India did take such action. There has been no official word from India, and for the moment the Modi government plans to keep it that way. Traders though are sensing a growing government chill towards Malaysia and this is impacting their buying behaviour.

"We haven't received anything officially. This is the reaction from the business community. Hence, we can't react to their personal decisions ... If the government launched a boycott or something like that, then we will have to work diplomatically or reduce the kind of action they've taken," Mahathir told the media. Reports said Malaysia may up its purchases of bovine meat from India to placate New Delhi.

India has already taken action against Turkish defence company Anadolu Shipyard that builds support ships for the Indian Navy, barring it from the huge Indian defence market. In addition to Turkey's open support for Pakistan, it appears Turkey is building ships for Pakistan's navy as well. Media reports have quoted Indian defence ministry officials as saying that this made the Turkish firm a security threat. Just recently, India took a tough stand against Turkey's decision to invade Syria, unusual by Indian government standards.

PM Modi had invested goodwill in Malaysia, being virtually the first foreign leader to drop in on Mahathir after his re-election to congratulate him. India wants an improved relationship with Malaysia, sources said, but Kuala Lumpur would have to take important steps towards India.

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Pakistan to remain on FATF grey list till February

Pakistan under biggest pressure from FATF: Doval

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