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Tuesday, June 11, 2024

India’s economy to suffer if it doesn’t apologize to Muslim world

India, the world's third-biggest importer of oil, looks to the Middle East for 65% of its crude imports.

India faces diplomatic pressure to issue an apology for the recent blasphemous statements made by BJP officials on Prophet Muhammad. More Muslim countries have joined the list of countries seeking an apology from India, many of whom are key trading partners for India.

Earlier, a BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma made insulting comments about the Holy Prophet and his wife Ayesha in a TV debate. Another party leader, Naveen Kumar Jindal, also made disrespectful remarks about the Prophet (PBUH) on Twitter.

Read more: Pakistan slams India for BJP’s insulting remarks against Holy Prophet

However, the Indian government did not take any action against the ruling BJP. In fact, BJP only suspended and expelled its officials after facing an international backlash. Domestic protests against the blasphemy had already begun a week ago in India but had no impact.

The matter reached India’s key trading partners from the Muslim world, for instance, Kuwait, Qatar, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Qatar had asked the Indian government “to publicly apologize to all Muslims around the world”. Other countries too sought an apology. The Taliban, which now rules Afghanistan, also condemned Sharma’s comments, referring to her as a “fanatic.”

India’s economy to take a hit?

Top Indian officials remained engaged in managing the diplomatic fallout as more Muslim nations, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Maldives, Jordan, Afghanistan, and Iran demanded an apology from the government in Delhi for allowing the derogatory remarks.

However, if India does not issue an apology soon, it could create issues for its economy. Following the derogatory remarks toward the Prophet, a Kuwaiti supermarket removed all Indian products from its shelves.

Read more: Have Saudi & Gulf states banned Indian products after ‘Islamophobic’ statements?

Furthermore, India, the world’s third-biggest importer of oil, looks to the Middle East for 65% of its crude imports. On the other hand, the Asian nation sends millions of workers to the Gulf states who send home billions of dollars in remittances.

According to media reports, there are currently about 30 million overseas Indians, of which 13 million are Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and 17 million are People of Indian Origin. The highest concentration of NRIs is in the Gulf countries, with 24% in Saudi Arabia, 20% in UAE, and 4-8% each in Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar.

India also signed a free trade agreement with the UAE, its first in more than a decade. It eyes the rest of the Gulf states for similar agreements, according to news reports. The UAE pact aims to see annual trade rise to $100 billion in five years and contribute to the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs in India.