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April 30, 2020

India replaces envoys to Qatar, Bahrain amid Gulf's 'Islamophobia' concerns

National

April 30, 2020

NEW DELHI: The development has come in the backdrop of prominent Gulf personalities taking note of the hate speeches by Indians, accusing the Tableeghi Jamaat of deliberately spreading the coronavirus as well as an alleged tweet by an MP from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP on sexual impulses of Arab women.

Days after the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Kuwaiti government, a UAE royal princess, and the Arab intelligentsia raised concerns of "Islamophobia" in India, New Delhi has replaced its ambassadors to State of Qatar and the Kingdom of Bahrain, reported international media on Wednesday.

While Deepak Mittal has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Qatar, Piyush Srivastava will be the new Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Bahrain. Both Mittal and Srivastava are 1998-batch IFS officers. They are presently working as joint secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs and will assume their new assignments soon.

The development has come in the backdrop of prominent Gulf personalities taking note of the hate speeches by Indians, accusing the Tableeghi Jamaat of deliberately spreading the coronavirus as well as an alleged tweet by an MP from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP on sexual impulses of Arab women.

After this, Indian embassies in Gulf states, including Qatar, UAE, and Oman, cautioned Indian citizens over "hate-filled and extremist" posts against Muslims and accusing them of spreading the coronavirus pandemic.

"It is clear that fake identities are being used by forces inimical to India, to create divisions within our community. Please understand the reality and do not get swayed by these malicious attempts to sow discord. Our focus right now needs to be on COVID-19," the Indian Embassy in Qatar had said.

Recently, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had also called Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. Jaishankar had also dialed UAE and spoke United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed. He later hailed India's relationship with the UAE and thanked the UAE Foreign Minister for the "warm conversation".

Deepak Mittal will succeed P Kumaran, who is the current Ambassador of India to the State of Qatar.

Piyush Srivastava is an IFS officer of the 1998 batch and has served in Pakistan and Iran. He is currently working as a joint secretary for the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) in the Ministry of External Affairs and will soon assume his new assignment as the next Ambassador to Bahrain.