Why Gulf States Are Backtracking on India – By Sumit Ganguly, Nicolas Blarel

Over the last several years, especially under the tenure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India had made significant strides in its relations with the countries of the Persian Gulf.… But the relationships that New Delhi so carefully crafted over the past five years… are now at substantial risk. Domestic developments targeting its 200 million Muslims are beginning to unravel India’s diplomatic feat.

Despite the relatively low reported numbers of infections and deaths, India’s Muslim community has faced online and physical assaults during the coronavirus crisis—incidents in which members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are also implicated.…the blatant abuse of India’s Muslim communities now places at risk New Delhi’s carefully tailored diplomatic approach to the Middle East, and especially toward the Gulf states.

In a rare public move, Princess Hend al-Qassimi of the UAE has been expressing her dissatisfaction with a rising Islamophobia among Indians.… These statements have followed other expressions of concern over the BJP’s treatment of Indian Muslims from across the Islamic world, including from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, which urged India to take urgent steps to protect the rights of its Muslim minority.…One key factor is that India’s approach toward Muslims is no longer simply an internal matter if its citizens based in the Gulf also promote Islamophobic rhetoric.

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