I am satisfied with the Indian Government’s response.” The remark from the visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian in the midst of the outrage over intemperate remarks about Prophet Muhammad should put an end to speculations that the unsavoury episode would have any lasting impact on India’s relations with Muslim countries the world over.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has already taken strong action against its functionaries to whom the alleged remarks were attributed.
The Government, on its part, has not only disassociated itself from the comments but also launched criminal prosecution against the culprits. As the Government has repeatedly told the Muslim countries in the Middle East and elsewhere, the alleged remarks were made by fringe elements and did not represent that position of the Government.
Furore over remarks about the Prophet
“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. Strong action has already been taken against these individuals by relevant bodies”, the statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said.
The Iranian Foreign Minister’s India visit had acquired a special significance in the backdrop the recent controversy that appeared to have been blown out of proportion by forces unfriendly to India abroad.
Abdollahian held frank and cordial discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval before expressing his satisfaction with India’s response.
Iran’s stance of resuming business as usual was indicative that India’s swift action has set the stage for resumption of India’s cordial relations with other Muslim countries in the Gulf region as well as Africa and Asia.
The sense of optimism was reflected by Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal when he said that India will continue to have good ties with the Gulf countries and all Indians living there are safe and there is no tension anywhere.
Political observers have a point when they note that the controversy was exploited by the propagandists of fifth-generation warfare to damage India’s reputation and its international status.
Social media witnessed Chinese whispers that India can be cowed down by the bully, in this case, a Twitter storm that can potentially damage the nation’s economy.
A statement issued by the Secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), which was rightly rejected by India as “motivated, misleading and mischievous”, was clearly part of this orchestrated charade.
However, it’s not a mickey-mouse play to straight-away boycott India, especially, when India and the Arab countries hold historical, cultural, religious, and strategic ties.
There are over 8.5-9 million Indian expatriates throughout the region, whose skillsets benefit the Gulf, while their impressive annual remittances benefit India—which is about 65 per cent of the nation’s total remittances.
India and the Gulf nations share a huge chunk of mutual economical dependencies, which include trade and investment, food security, education, skill development and more.
Anti-India forces are trying to stir a sense of anxiety that India may face a heavy backlash from the Gulf nations for the recent controversy. But it’s never been the case.
Those who used unrefined language for the Prophet were brought to book immediately, while India displayed maturity and the relations are back to normal.