The costs, though, may go beyond what is measured in total trade.

Beyond international trade

The controversy sparked by Sharma and Jindal’s statements has also spurred calls to “boycott India” in West Asian countries. Superstores in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait have removed Indian products.

Some Arab employers have also asked Indian workers to leave their jobs, while citizens refused to hire Indian gig workers, according to a report by the South Asian Journal.

These ripples have also been felt in India’s perception in countries like the US. On June 2, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an autonomous US government panel, released its chapter on religious tolerance in India.

“The othering of those that are non-Hindu through the misuse of national and state-level legislation has turned India’s diverse and pluralistic society into more of a hostile state for many religious communities, particularly Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Adivasis, and Dalits,” the report said.

India was quick to retaliate against this report, claiming that it was “biased” and relied on “assessments based on motivated inputs.”

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