INDIA may impose harsher trade sanctions on Malaysian imports as part of a retaliatory response to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s criticism of India’s actions in Kashmir and its citizenship law.
New Delhi is believed to be considering, among others, an import restriction on microprocessors by subjecting these products to technical standards as well as quality control orders for telecom equipment, The Times of India (TOI), citing sources, reported on Jan 15.
India’s customs officers had been asked to ensure compliance of the quality control orders as part of efforts to restrict the entry of Malaysian equipment into the country. The Ministry of Mines was also keeping tabs on imports and might initiate action next week, said TOI.
India stepped up trade threats after Mahathir defended his criticism of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s approach towards the tensions in Kashmir as well as a new citizenship law, Citizenship Amendment Act, that discriminates Muslims yesterday.
Mahathir said Putrajaya stood firm on speaking out against India’s actions despite an earlier boycott call towards Malaysian palm oil. India is the largest consumer of Malaysian crude palm oil as well as our seventh-largest trading partner and export destination.
Mahathir said he was “concerned” over the boycott call. “But on the other hand, we need to be frank and when something goes wrong, we need to say it,” Mahathir told reporters on Jan 14 after speaking at a forum in Kuala Lumpur.
TOI also reported that aside from Mahathir’s comments on Kashmir and CAA, the Modi government is also upset that Malaysia had been reluctant to extradite controversial preacher Zakir Naik.
On Sept 18 last year, Mahathir said Modi had not made any extradition request for Zakir. “I met Modi. He did not raise the issue. He did mention Zakir Naik. But he didn’t ask for Zakir Naik to be sent to India,” he told reporters that day. India is contesting that claim. – Jan 15, 2020