Malaysian, Indian foreign ministers meet amidst palm oil issue



The foreign ministers of Malaysia and India had a cordial meeting in Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan Wednesday night even as the media elsewhere continued to report on what is perceived to be an issue over palm oil between the two countries.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah (above, right) and Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar (above, left) met on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Ministerial Meeting, and the two sides mentioned the meeting in social media posts.

Wisma Putra, the Malaysian Foreign Ministry, said in a Facebook post: “Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah had a bilateral discussion with His Excellency S. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs of India, on the sidelines of the 18th #NAM Summit on 23 October 2019."

Jaishankar tweeted: "Had an open and candid conversation with my Malaysian counterpart @saifuddinabd on outstanding issues."

Following Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's remarks on the Kashmir conflict, an Indian trade association representing oilseed crushers has advised its members not to buy palm oil from Malaysia.

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

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

The Indian government on Aug 5 revoked Jammu and Kashmir's legal 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 United Nations General Assembly last month, had said that "despite the 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".

Dr Mahathir is due to arrive in Baku later Thursday to attend the 18th NAM Summit.

- Bernama

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