Just weeks after a minor row, Malaysia and India are seemingly headed for another round of a diplomacy spat.
Malaysian envoy in India was summoned for a meeting with the nation’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in the second spat between the two countries arising from comments by the Malaysian prime minister.
On Saturday, Malaysia’s acting head of mission was summoned for India to lodge a protest over remarks made by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, reports The Wire.
The summoning of the Malaysian embassy’s charge d’affairs took place a day after India had issued an official statement urging the Malaysian leader to refrain from commenting on India’s internal affairs, “especially without a right understanding of the facts”, the report added.
Mahathir had expressed regret that India as a secular state would take action to “deprive some Muslims of their citizenship”.
“Already people are dying because of this law, so why is there a necessity to do this thing when all this while, for 70 years almost, they have lived together as citizens without any problems,” he added.
Quoting unnamed ‘official’ sources, the newswire reported that the Malaysian envoy was told that “such remarks are neither in keeping with accepted diplomatic practice of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, nor with the state of our bilateral relations”.
“It was also conveyed that such remarks are both ill-informed and insensitive. Malaysia was asked to take a long-term and strategic view of the bilateral relations,” it added.
A day earlier, it reported that India had described Mahathir’s comment were “factually inaccurate” and called upon “Malaysia to refrain from commenting on internal developments in India, especially without a right understanding of the facts.
The relations between the two nations came under watch when Dr Mahathir made pointed remarks in a United Nation’s address on India’s handling of the Kashmir issue.
In his speech during the general debate of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Dr Mahathir said: “The helplessness of the world in stopping atrocities inflicted on the Rohingyas in Myanmar had reduced the regard for the resolution of the UN. Now, despite UN resolution on Jammu and Kashmir, the country has been invaded and occupied. There may be reasons for this action but it is still wrong. The problem must be solved by peaceful means. India should work with Pakistan to resolve this problem. Ignoring the UN would lead to other forms of disregard for the UN and the Rule of Law.”
Following the speech, there had been calls in India for the country to drop Malaysian palm oil.
India shunning Malaysian palm oil over Dr Mahathir’s Kashmir remarks – Report (Asia Samachar, 16 oct 2019)