India and Malaysia have had frosty relations over PM Mahathir Mohamed's statements

Relations between India and Malaysia have soured ever since the country’s prime minister Mahathir Mohamed spoke out against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), leading to a growing call for India to boycott Malaysian products that eventuality to restrictions being imposed on Malaysian palm oil.

Now, Reuters reports that there will be no meeting between the Indian and Malaysian trade ministers at the upcoming annual World Economic Forum (WEF) summit in Davos, Switzerland.

A trade ministry official told Reuters, “I can tell you fair and square there’s no meeting between the Malaysian minister and the Indian trade minister at Davos.”

He added, however, that “As part of a larger meeting of trade ministers they may be both together, but there’s no meeting. The schedule is already finalised and it’s full.”

While the Indian minister for trade and commerce Piyush Goyal and the Malaysian minister for international trade and diplomacy Darell Leiking may not meet directly at the summit, hopes remain that ‘Davos diplomacy’ will thaw the chilled ties between the two countries.

Earlier, a government source told Reuters that India was hoping for some rapprochement. “We too have a lot to lose in Malaysia, there are 2 million Indian-origin people there,” the official said.

India is the world’s largest buyer of edible oils, while Malaysia is the world’s second-largest exporter of palm oil, which itself makes up a significant quantity of the country’s exports.

Palm oil futures dropped by 2.8 per cent after India announced its restrictions, which would affect the ability for Indian traders to source palm oil from Malaysia. This was the largest decline in these futures in 11 years.

President Mohamed spurred controversy in India after he said that the CAA had cost lives in India. Earlier, he had criticised India’s move to abrogate the state of Jammu and Kashmir, saying that India had invaded and occupied Kashmir.

The 50th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum will take place in Davos between January 20 and 24, 2020.