New Delhi/Dubai : 7 countries led by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, on Monday severed ties with Qatar, accusing it of backing terrorism and opening up a rift among some of the most powerful Arab states that could have repercussions for the Indian economy and expatriates.
Bahrain was the first to snap ties, followed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and the Maldives. They accused Qatar of backing groups such as al-qaeda, Islamic state and the Muslim Brotherhood and pushing policies that were destabilishing the region.
Qatar denied the accusations and expressed ” regret and utter surprise” at the coordinated move by the countries that the key players in OPEC and the Gulf Cooperation Council(GCC).
The Foreign ministry criticised the ” unjustified measures” and said there was a ” smear campaign” to harm Qatar.
As Saudi Arabia closed its borders and snapped land, air and sea links, residents rushed to supermarkets to stock up on food, Doha News reported.
People stocked up on water, Milk, meat, rice and photographs of empty chiller shelves circulated on social media, though the Qatari foreign ministry said the border closing would not affect normal life.
Qatar is home to an estimated 700,000 Indians– whose remittances in 2015 were worth $3.98 billion– and sources said there was “no panic” in the expatriate community. ” People are stocking up but there’s nothing to worry about,” a source said.
Indian authorities were keeping a close watch on food supplies and flights in and out Doha against the backdrop of increasing enquiries from Indian Nationals about the situation.
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