Uproar over BJP leaders’ blasphemous remarks deepen India’s diplomatic, economic woes

ISLAMABAD, Jun 8 (APP): The uproar over BJP leaders’ blasphemous remarks has put the Narendra Modi regime is in a catch-22 situation with its cliché of Hindu supremacy on one side while on the other is the huge economic cost of its straining ties with the Gulf nations.

A spokesperson of Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Nupur Sharma made some controversial remarks in a televised debate last month. Naveen Jindal, who was media head of the party’s Delhi unit, had also posted a provocative tweet on the issue.

The issue had upset the Muslim world bringing a diplomatic nightmare for India.

The Muslim nations including Pakistan, UAE, Oman, Indonesia, Iraq, the Maldives, Jordan, Libya and Bahrain have condemned the remarks. The respective Foreign Offices also summoned the Indian envoys to register their protest besides issuing strongly worded statements.

In order to avert a huge dent to its economy, the BJP government is trying to subside the issue but the storm is not yet over as the reactions from across the globe is getting momentum.

Uproar over BJP leaders’ blasphemous remarks deepen India’s diplomatic, economic woes

Pakistan summoned the Indian diplomat and handed over a strong demarche calling the remarks “totally unacceptable” which had not only deeply hurt the sentiments of the people of Pakistan but of Muslims across the world.

Pakistan also deplored the belated and perfunctory disciplinary actions taken by the BJP government against the said officials, “which cannot assuage the pain caused to the Muslims.”

“Allowing such Islamophobic remarks to continue without punishment, constitutes a grave danger to the protection of human rights and may lead to further prejudice and marginalisation, which will create a cycle of violence and hate,” Qatar’s ministry of foreign affairs said.

Uproar over BJP leaders’ blasphemous remarks deepen India’s diplomatic, economic woes

Saudi Arabia also used some strong words in its statement. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its condemnation and denunciation of the statements made by the spokeswoman of the BJP,” it said.

The Organization of the Islamic Cooperation also issued a strongly worded statement which did not go well with India. In response, the spokesperson of the Indian foreign affairs ministry called the OIC’s statement as “narrow-minded” and “unwarranted”, adding that the comments “denigrating” the prophet were made by “certain individuals.”

India receives remittances of $87 billion per year and half of it of it comes from five Islamic countries: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman.

Besides, 8.9 million Indians currently work in the Gulf nations. 60% of India’s crude oil comes from the Middle East with the UAE being the third largest trade partner of India.

Indian PM Narendra Modi has been a regular visitor to the region since coming to power in 2014. The country has already signed a free trade agreement with the UAE and is in talks with the GCC for a wider deal.

At the moment, a major portion of India’s energy requirements is met by countries of the GCC. India also imports meat, cereals, sugarcane, coffee, cocoa products, and processed tobacco products, among other commodities, from them.

In 2021-22, India exported products worth $421.89 billion to the six GCC nations United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and Bahrain. Its imports stood at $612.60 billion in this period, according to the Indian ministry of commerce.

However, the Indian media is still busy appeasing the BJP government. Instead of showing remorse on its own biases or condemning the blasphemous remarks, they are out to criticize the Muslim nations for their unified reaction.

The Indian social media is also running a trend of boycotting Qatar Airways, in retaliation to the country’s strong reaction over the issue.

“Those who are trending Boycott Qatar Airways, do they know that the per capita GDP of Qatar is more than 25 times India’s per capita GDP? Indian labor force working in Qatar sends $5Billion home every year, more than double the price of Air India,” said a renowned Indian analyst Ashok Swain.

The sane voices are also questioning the professional conduct of the Indian media as the news anchor of the said TV show never tried to interrupt or condemn Nupur Sharma as she made the objectionable remarks.

The Indian media is also blaming the Pakistani social media for highlighting the issue saying that most of the anti-Nupur traffic was coming from Pakistan.