India trade body tells members not to import Malaysian palm oil in nationalistic protest


NEW DELHI (Bernama): An Indian trade body representing oilseed crushers has advised its members not to buy palm oil from Malaysia, taking a cue from New Delhi’s protest against Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remarks on the Kashmir conflict.

“The recent developments pertaining to strained relations between our nation and Malaysia has put a lot of responsibility on our industry in view of huge imports of palm oil from that country, ” said Atul Chaturvedi, president of the Mumbai-based Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) of India on Monday (Oct 21).

“In your own interest as well as a mark of solidarity with our nation, we should avoid purchases from Malaysia for the time being. We trust you would heed our advice, ” he said in a statement.

Chaturvedi said the Indian government “has not taken kindly” to Malaysia’s position on Kashmir at the UN General Assembly.

“It would be in fitness of things, as responsible Indian vegetable oil industry, we avoid purchasing of palm oil from Malaysia till such time clarity on the way forward emerges from the Indian government, ” he added.

Malaysia exported palm oil worth US$1.65bil (RM6.9bil) to India in 2018.

India, the world’s largest vegetable oil importer, relies on Indonesia and Malaysia for its palm oil supplies.

The Indian government on Aug 5 had revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s legally autonomous status and imposed many unprecedented security measures, including cutting off Internet and phone services, to prevent protests in the region.

Dr Mahathir in his speech at the 74th session of the General Assembly had said “despite UN resolution on Jammu and Kashmir, the country has been invaded and occupied, ” and called on India to “work with Pakistan to resolve this problem”.

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