India is a country with one of the largest Muslim populations in the world .Recently, India witnessed  criticisms from foreign governments and from students of these countries for certain policy measures taken by the government.

Criticism of India’s policy:

  • New constitutional and administrative arrangements in Jammu and Kashmir: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on India to follow a “just policy" towards the people of Kashmir.
  • Iran also criticised India for Delhi violence and called Indian Government to take prudent steps to avoid isolation from the muslim world.
  • Turkey also compared “struggle" of the Kashmiri people to the Turks and with the struggle against foreign domination in World War I. 
  • During the UN General Assembly the Malaysia’s former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad accused India of invading and occupying Jammu and Kashmir. 
  • Malaysia also criticized the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) for depriving Muslims in India of their citizenship.

India’s response to the criticism:

  • Restricting imports: India placed imports of palm oil from Malaysia on the “restricted" list.Thus curtailing imports of 4.4 million tonnes of Malaysia’s major export item.
  • In a quick retaliatory action India warned Turkey that it will cut imports of oil and steel.

Implications of retaliatory measures taken by India:

  • Negative impact on ties: It contradicts the massive efforts made by the Prime Minister personally to cultivate ties with the Islamic world. 
  • Affects domestic interests: The Indian government's aggressive outreach to the islamic nations had domestic interest in mind.
  • Aligning Muslim Countries: These interventions which India sees as its domestic concerns reflect significant shifts in the Muslim world.Qatar that has not joined the anti-India chorus was brought into an alignment founded on Islamist affinity during Kuala Lumpur summit.
  • Muslim 5 nations : the connectivity between the four  nations was publicly proclaimed at the “Muslim 5 Summit", which bring together Malaysia, Turkey, Qatar and Iran. Pakistan was pressurised by Saudi Arabia not to attend.
    • Objective of summit: to promote his vision of a rejuvenated, modern and successful Muslim civilization that would overcome its backwardness, extremism, and internecine conflicts

What is The bond of Islamism?

  • Islamism" describes the efforts of a political movement to influence and ultimately shape government and society on the basis of the rules and traditions of Islam.
  • Its adherents derive these ideas and principles from pristine Islam dating back to the holy prophet.
  • Three expression of Islam

Expressions of Islam




Saudi Arabia 

It provides the monarch with full authority in the political area, giving him responsibility for his peoples’ security and welfare in return for their loyalty and obedience.


Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Its adherents believe that Islam and the Muslim community are under attack from the West (in alliance with regional leaders) and hence they have divine sanction to resort to violence to defend their faith.

Principles of pristine Islam

Egypt in 1928

It enjoins pluralism, human rights and liberties, constitution-based democratic systems, and flexibility in the understanding and application of Shariah, alongside acceptance of secular laws.

  • Egypt in 1928, is the first modern Islamist movement.However concerned about the cultural encroachments of western materialism and secularism, it advocated a “return to Islam".

Why Saudi Arabia is against the Brotherhood?

  • Muslim Brotherhood is most influential in Turkey and Qatar, while it has been declared a “terrorist" organization by Saudi Arabia, the UAE.
  • Brotherhood as threat: Saudi Arabia  fears that the activist democratic politics advocated could be more alluring to their young population than their 19th century ruler-led paternalism that provides no scope for popular participation in governance.
  • To rule the muslim world: Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi doctrine is firmly anchored in Islam which has legitimized its “guardianship" of Islam’s holy cities of Mecca and Madinah and given it a natural claim to lead the Muslim world in doctrinal and political areas. 
  • Saudi Arabia lead the muslim world through network of institutions.And most importantly among them is OIC(Organisation for Islamic Cooperation).
    • It was Set up in 1969, headquartered at Jeddah. 
    • The OIC 57-member conclave of Muslim nations serves to garner support for its positions against challenges from other Muslim countries.

Saudi Arabia did not join other Muslim nations in criticizing India in response to recent domestic developments: the bigger threat Saudi arabia faces is to its leadership of the Muslim ummah (community) from the emerging Islamist alignment of Turkey, Qatar and Iran.

  • It is also confronting a strategic challenge from Iran in its geographical space.

Ties between India and the Gulf:

  • Ties expanded exponentially: due to energy requirements, strategic interests, substantial trade and investment , and the presence of the eight million-strong Indian community. 
  • To attract investments: Ties have strengthened with the Prime Minister’s frequent interactions with the leaders of the UAE and Saudi Arabia.The two countries have promised to invest $70 billion and $100 billion, respectively, in India.
  • Partner in the battle against extremism.

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Image Source:  Indiatv