Indian business ties underpin muted Arab response to Kashmir

FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2017 file photo, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, gestures as he receives Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the airport in New Delhi, India. Gulf Arab countries have remained mostly silent as India’s government moved to strip the Indian-administered sector of Kashmir of its limited autonomy, imposing a sweeping military curfew in the disputed Muslim-majority region and cutting off residents from all communication and the internet. This muted response is underwritten by more than $100 billion in annual trade with India that makes it one of the Arabian Peninsula’s most prized economic partners. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2019 file photo, Pakistani riders drive past portraits of Pakistani and Saudi leaders displayed on the occasion of a visit by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince to Pakistan, in Islamabad, Pakistan. Amid the Kashmir crisis, Gulf Arab states balance relations with Muslim-majority Pakistan and trade partner India. Saudi Arabia’s response to the Kashmir situation is complicated by its close ties with both India and Pakistan, which have fought two wars over the disputed Himalayan region, as well as its ideological rivalry with Turkey and Iran for supremacy in the Islamic world. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2019 file photo, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shakes hand with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a ceremonial welcome in New Delhi, India. Amid the Kashmir crisis, Gulf Arab states balance relations with Muslim-majority Pakistan and trade partner India. Saudi Arabia’s response to the Kashmir situation is complicated by its close ties with both India and Pakistan, which have fought two wars over the disputed Himalayan region, as well as its ideological rivalry with Turkey and Iran for supremacy in the Islamic world. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019 file photo, supporters of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) light fireworks and celebrate the government revoking Kashmir's special status, in Lucknow, India. Gulf Arab countries have remained mostly silent as India’s government moved to strip the Indian-administered sector of Kashmir of its limited autonomy, imposing a sweeping military curfew in the disputed Muslim-majority region and cutting off residents from all communication and the internet. This muted response is underwritten by more than $100 billion in annual trade with India that makes it one of the Arabian Peninsula’s most prized economic partners. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019 file photo, an Indian paramilitary soldier patrols during security lockdown in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir. Gulf Arab countries have remained mostly silent as India’s government moved to strip the Indian-administered sector of Kashmir of its limited autonomy, imposing a sweeping military curfew in the disputed Muslim-majority region and cutting off residents from all communication and the internet. (AP Photo/ Dar Yasin, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2018 file photo, the Burj Khalifa displays the flag of India to honor the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Gulf Arab countries have remained mostly silent as India’s government moved to strip the Indian-administered sector of Kashmir of its limited autonomy, imposing a sweeping military curfew in the disputed Muslim-majority region and cutting off residents from all communication and the internet. This muted response is underwritten by more than $100 billion in annual trade with India that makes it one of the Arabian Peninsula’s most prized economic partners. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2018 file photo, Indians walk in the Al Seef district during the Diwali festival in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Amid the Kashmir crisis, Gulf Arab states balance relations with Muslim-majority Pakistan, trade partner India. In the UAE Indians outnumber Emiratis three to one and bilateral trade surpassed $50 billion in 2018, making India the UAE’s second-largest trade partner. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)
FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 12, 2019 file photo, Kashmiri Muslims shout "We want freedom" and "Go India, Go back," during a protest after Eid prayers during a security lockdown in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir. Gulf Arab countries have remained mostly silent as India’s government moved to strip the Indian-administered sector of Kashmir of its limited autonomy, imposing a sweeping military curfew in the disputed Muslim-majority region and cutting off residents from all communication and the internet. (AP Photo/ Dar Yasin, File)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Gulf Arab countries have remained mostly silent as India's government moved to strip the Indian-administered sector of Kashmir of its limited autonomy, imposing a military curfew in the disputed Muslim-majority region and cutting off communication and the internet.

This muted response is underpinned by more than $100 billion in annual trade with India, making it one of the Arabian Peninsula's most prized economic partners.

Saudi Arabia urged restraint and expressed concern over the brewing crisis. Other Gulf countries — Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman— do not appear to have issued any statements.

The United Arab Emirates has gone a step further by apparently siding with India, calling the decision to downgrade Kashmir's status an internal matter. Gulf Arab states are also home to more than 7 million Indian expatriate workers.

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