Prophet Mohammad Remarks Row: Why Gulf Nations Are Important For India | Explained

Prophet Mohammad Remarks Row: Amid the growing anger among Gulf nations, the Centre has issued a clarification, saying Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jinal's remarks do not, in any manner, reflect India's ideology, assuring "strong action" against the two former BJP spokespersons.

By Aalok Sensharma
Wed, 08 Jun 2022 03:45 PM IST
Minute Read
Prophet Mohammad Remarks Row: Why Gulf Nations Are Important For India | Explained
Saudi Arabia's crown price Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud and Prime Minister Narendra Modi/ ANI Image

New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The remarks about Prophet Mohammad by two now-suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) functionaries - Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal - have triggered a massive controversy in and out of India. While the opposition parties have attacked the Centre for Sharma and Jinal's remarks, many Islamic nations - mainly Gulf nations - have condemned the statements.

Amid the growing anger among Gulf nations, the Centre has issued a clarification, saying Sharma and Jinal's remarks do not, in any manner, reflect India's ideology, assuring "strong action" against the two former BJP spokespersons.

"The Government of India categorically rejects OIC Secretariat's unwarranted and narrow-minded comments. The Government of India accords the highest respect to all religions," the Centre said. "The offensive tweets and comments denigrating a religious personality were made by certain individuals. They do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the Government of India."

Why Gulf nations are important to India?

India from the start has shared deep historical and cultural ties with the Gulf nations. Lakhs of Indians reside and work in these nations, helping New Delhi strengthen its economic relationship with the Gulf.

According to a report by The Economic Times, 34.25 lakh Indians live in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Similarly, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon have 25.94 lakh, 10.29 lakh, 7.81 lakh, 7.46 lakh, 3.26 lakh, 20,760, 18,007, and 8,537 Indians, respectively.

Going by the above data, it can be easily assumed that a call to boycott Indian products can have a devastating impact on Indians living there.

How much trade does India conduct with Gulf nations?

According to the data shared by the Ministry of Commerce, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was India's largest trading partner in 2010-11. In 2021-2022, India conducted trade worth USD 154.73 billion with the GCC. As per the data, India conducted exports worth USD 44 billion with the GCC, while the imports were worth USD 110.73 billion.

In addition to that, India also imported 212.2 million tonnes of crude worth USD 119.2 billion from Gulf nations in 2021-22 to meet its energy.

"The Gulf region has historical, political, economic, strategic and cultural significance for India. The GCC countries, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE, are moving ahead with their economic integration efforts and offer tremendous potential for cooperation in trade, investment, energy, manpower etc. India has traditional and friendly relations with all GCC member states," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a press note earlier.

Following is a look at how much trade India conducted with different Gulf nations in 2021-22:

UAE: USD 72.87 billion

Saudi Arabia: USD 43 billion

Qatar: USD 15 billion

Iran: USD 1.9 billion

Oman: USD 9.94 billion

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