Oil, Trade, Expats: Why India Can't Ignore Gulf Outrage Over Prophet Remarks

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During the second COVID-19 wave in India, the Gulf countries extended quick and critical support in the form of oxygen and other medical supplies to the nation.

Oman bought 1 million Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) tablets from India during the pandemic, while the UAE sent seven tons of medical supplies.

Further, under the Vande Bharat Mission, over 2,30,000 Indian nationals were repatriated from Gulf countries to various states in India.

“The leadership of Gulf countries took exceptional care of Indians in their respective countries and facilitated an orderly return of Indian nationals. India ensured that the supply chains of essential items to these countries were not disrupted despite lockdowns in India. Similarly, India also ensured that Indian doctors and medical professionals were able to travel to the Gulf to help in fighting the pandemic,” a report by the Ministry of External Affairs had mentioned.

The relations between India and some of these nations, which go back decades, stand threatened after the row over the remarks on Prophet Muhammad erupted on Sunday.

The list of countries who have censured the ruling government in India include Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Qatar, Indonesia, UAE, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Libya, Taliban in Afghanistan, Jordan, Turkey, and Maldives.

“Hurting our religious sentiments can directly impact economic ties,” Reuters quoted an official at the Qatar Embassy in New Delhi as saying.