Kuala Lumpur: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan thanked Mahathir Mohamad for “speaking up” on the Kashmir issue and promised to do his best to buy more Malaysian palm oil to “compensate” it after India restricted the import of the commodity from the country amid a diplomatic row.
“You have spoken for the justice for Kashmiris, for which we are thankful,” Khan said during a joint press conference with his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir. “We noticed that India threatened Malaysia for supporting the Kashmir cause to cut their palm oil import, Pakistan will do its best to compensate for that,” he was quoted as saying.
Indonesia and Malaysia are the two countries which supply palm oil. Malaysia produces 19 million tonnes of palm oil a year, while Indonesia produces 43 million tonnes, according to trade data. India, the world’s largest importer of vegetable oils, buys nearly15 million tonnes annually. Pakistan bought 1.08 million tonnes of palm oil from Malaysia in 2019, while India bought 4.4 million tonnes, according to the Malaysian Palm Oil Council.
The Indian government has imposed restrictions on imports of refined palm oil, a move which could discourage the inbound shipment of the commodity from Malaysia. The move came after the Malaysian prime minister repeatedly criticised India’s policy on Kashmir and the new citizenship law. Mahathir had also raised the Kashmir issue in the UN General Assembly session in September.
However, the external affairs ministry in New Delhi has said that the government’s imposition of restrictions on imports of refined palm oil is product-specific and not country-specific .
Khan also regretted not attending a recent summit of Muslim nations hosted by Malaysia, saying there was “misconception” among some countries that it would divide the global Muslim community, according to media reports. Khan’s visit to Malaysia comes weeks after he skipped the Kuala Lumpur summit of some 20 Muslim countries hosted by Malaysian PM in December which was attended by leaders from countries like Iran, Turkey and Qatar.