Erdogan at UN General Assembly
Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York. | Jeenah Moon | Bloomberg
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New Delhi: There are two countries in the west, Turkey and Iran, and two in the east, Malaysia and Indonesia that are complaining about India. And all four are fairly large and important.

Ninety-nine per cent of the population in Iran and Turkey is Muslim. In Iran, 90 per cent are Shia, 9 per cent are Sunni, and approximately 1 per cent are minorities. In Turkey, from a fairly liberal, secular republic, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been pushing the country towards Islamism, even though it is not an Islamic republic.

What’s common among all these countries is that they are democracies of some kind, where public opinion matters. The Arab countries, which haven’t spoken out, are not democracies and public opinion matters less there.


Also read: Not all Muslim nations love Modi. This is why Iran, Malaysia, Turkey don’t


Turkey

Turkey is at odds with Syria, the Kurds, and now Russia. It made common cause with the Iraqis and Iranians when it came to the Kurds, and also has a stake in Syria, where it was fighting alongside the Russians before changing directions. As soon as the Syrian forces came close to Idlib, Turkey realised the threat of fleeing Syrians coming into the country, which it did not want. 

Turkey and Iran both have old military and strategic relations with Pakistan. In the early days of the Cold War, Pakistan was a signatory to the US-led security pacts in Asia. Turkey and Iran were both part of those pacts till the Shah ruled Iran. Now that Turkey has isolated everyone else, it sees a natural friendship with Pakistan.

Since everyone is jostling for supremacy in the Islamic world, Turkey sees itself as a contender. 

Iran

The oldest tussle in the Islamic world is the Shia-Sunni tussle. Across from Iran is Iraq, which was ruled by Sunni elites for a long time despite the majority Shia population till Saddam Hussein’s forces were destroyed by the US.

Now, because of democracy, Shias have come to power in Iraq and Sunnis are feeling marginalised. Iran has enormous influence in the region and feels it has defeated the US in Iraq. Iran also feels emboldened enough to declare it is fighting for Muslims against the US, Israel and now India, even while the Gulf countries stay quiet. 

Last year, India stopped buying crude oil from Iran, which contributed to wrecking its economy. The country’s latest backlash against India and its treatment of Muslims is also payback for this.


Also read: Modi govt now wants Egypt to buy surplus wheat, after refusing Turkey and desperate Iran


Malaysia

Former Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad was very vocal about Muslims in India, but there is no obvious reason why he would raise the issue. 

The Muslim population in Malaysia is only 61 per cent while 7 per cent are Hindus, 20 per cent are Buddhists, and 9.5 per cent are Christians. It is also ethnically diverse. Even though it is considered Islamic, it is not as easy to drive the country in that direction. Malaysia now has a new Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, and the understanding is that relations between India and Malaysia are being repaired.

Indonesia

Indonesia is not an Islamic republic, though approximately 89 per cent of the population is Muslim and 1.6 per cent is Hindu. It is a secular, liberal polity, and has commented more out of concern — that the situation in India might create tensions in its own country and could possibly lead to the targeting of Hindus by the Muslim majority.

Indonesian criticism has been very measured: they summoned the Indian ambassador, spoke to him, and said they wanted peace. After that, Vice-President Ma’ruf Amin said, “We want India to act like us, Indonesia, in building tolerance and moderation within [our] religious life.”

In 1965, during the Indo-Pak war, India’s relations with Indonesia were not that strong. Indonesia had laid claim to some of the southern islands in the Andaman and Nicobar region. Today, however, the relationship between the countries has revived. They are negotiating a kind of lease over the island of Sabang so that the Indian Navy can use it as a base. This makes Indonesia a strategic ally. 


Also read: How a $7 billion dispute helped topple Mahathir’s ‘New Malaysia’


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16 Comments Share Your Views

16 COMMENTS

  1. Very aptly captured. These four countries have hidden agenda which are been worked out at diplomatic level. The nuisance is created by China by polarise the post-cold war era. New Allies are formed by China and Pakistan, who are taking advantage of the Pro-muslim nations.

  2. The Muslim countries you speak of, say nothing about Muslims being persecuted by China, but feel free to attack India for everything & anything imagined!
    The reason why India does not respond is because it matters little to her in the scheme of things. If these Muslim countries are so perfect why aren’t Muslims from Non Muslim countries clamoring to go to Malaysia, Indonesia, Iran, Turkey etc. to live along their ‘own folk’? Because Muslims are no different to any other humans – they will go or stay where it suits them, economically.
    Can you imagine what would happen if Non Muslim minorities attempted to march for their ‘rights’ in these Muslim countries? They would be crushed!
    Just like the Jews attempted to do over the last 70 years, India should ‘bring home’ all foreign Hindus who want to return to India from these weird countries.

  3. What a useless, below standard article it is! No analysis, no inference.

    The way Hindu India is concerned over the persecution of Hindus abroad, the same way Muslim world also are concerned about the atrocity and inhuman activities that happen in India the last couple of years by Modi govt. It’s simple as it is. India is becoming a place for atrocity for the minority people.

  4. There are more than 50 countries which have Muslims as majority which often see things from their narrow perspective. Delhi riots was clash between two communities and Hindus were also butchered. If we revisit the list of people who have died in riots, it has both Hindus and Muslims in the list. These islamic countries will not speak a word when China repressed Uighur Muslims.
    There are only 2 Hindu majority nation in the world. Therefore voice of Hindus often not heard.
    This hypocracy of Muslim world has not kept them in peace for a while. Look at Syria, Iraq, Libya, S. Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran etc.
    Recently Iranian policemen killed several protesters in Dec 19. Iran must see herself first and then point a finger at India. There are plethora of incident in Muslim world where minorities are being forcefully convereted and killed. They don’t need to teach India how to hold it’s muslims.

    • Obviously you are so ignorant that you do not realize how your “CHAI WALA” is destroying India, do you really think that you can treat the large population of Muslims in India and not expect anyone to say anything, do you think no one will say anything when the CHAI WALA hasd all the Kashmiris for one year now.. Whatcfo you have to say about this??

      • No one takes ur islamic countires seriously especially your islamic republic of paxtan where a jehadi terroist like osama is hailed as Martyr

  5. Disgraceful Congress led by Italian mafia ( Sonia ) is definitely stoking anti Hindu anti Indian flames around the world. Every patriotic Indian must rise against this Italian family and their supporters.

    India is the only Hindu nation and we 1.1 billion Hindus must stand united to protect our mother land

  6. Even if the need and logic of CAA is accepted ,why the BJP honchos beginning from the very Top , are mortally scared to go out and explain to Indian Muslim its essence.
    They consider it infradig to build the consensus, that also in the so-called Biggest Democracy of the Earth.
    They have poisoned the Polity for 85% Hindus by excluding 15% Muslims,to realise their Delusion of Hindu Rashtra.
    Well some call it Fascism.

  7. If a person of Indian origin faces racial attacks in any part of the world, which he may willingly have chosen as his new home, with passport, it hurts us. Similarly, a Hindu citizen of Malaysia or Indonesia being subjected to religion based violence would draw a reaction in India. It is natural for Muslim countries, both citizens and governments, to feel worried when Muslims in India are killed or injured, their property destroyed in communal violence. It is other worldly for our diplomats to expect that every will bite their tongues and stay silent, due to geopolitical calculations or compulsions. 2. I would go one step further. For any innocent Indian – Hindu, Muslim, Dalit – to come to harm in any communal or casteist act would hurt the sensibilities of people of good conscience anywhere in the world. We are sending out terrible messages of social and religious strife to the rest of the world, shredding our global standing. 3. Instead of analysing why some are speaking up, even as others are silent, we should be thinking of writing a better script of our democratic evolution.

  8. 1. Our political parties- the so-called secular parties- are mainly responsible for the fact that these four Islamic countries have shown courage to express opinions on CAA. 2. These countries must be told in very unambiguous terns that CAA is not only an internal matter but it is NOT in any way anti-Muslims. 3. If as a Sovereign Republic India cannot decide what kind of treatment is to be given to migrants from other (neighbouring) countries, then we will become a laughing stock. 4. My simple suggestion to all anti-BJP parties who are opposing CAA is this: they should give a written assurance to citizen-voters of India that as and when they are voted to power in the centre, they will be given free entry to all Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. We the vast majority of alert citizen-voters will then appropriately respond and give a fitting reply to these parties in 2024 Lok Sabha election.

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