On Tuesday seven countries, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, and Maldives, said they are indefinitely severing ties with Qatar.
It is a political crisis and may pave the way for further tensions in the Arab world, or even an eventual war.
Where is Qatar?
Qatar is in Western Asia, along with the shoreline of the Persian Gulf shoreline, and neighbors Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iran, and the UAE.
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Why did they cut ties?
The countries have accused Qatar of harboring terrorists (Islamic militants) on its soil and being a close ally of Iran.
What are its effects?
Anything that happens in the Middle East affects the oil prices considerably.
Qatar was also supposed to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and that is in jeopardy now as the movement of people in and out of the country will be restricted.
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How will India be affected?
At about 650K, Indians are twice the population of the native Qataris themselves due to huge demand for jobs. The Indian population is mainly from Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.
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While only the Gulf nations have suspended air, water, and land travel, the Indian flights to and fro Qatar’s capital Doha are operating normally, except for being costlier and longer.
Moreover, the Ministry of External Affairs has said that while it is an internal matter of the Gulf Coordination Council (GCC), any Indian stuck there would receive their help.
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What is Qatar doing in response?
Qatar has contemplated on shutting down its TV channel, Al Jazeera which caters to millions of audience worldwide. It has criticized the Gulf countries of harboring terrorists which riled them up in turn.
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Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan has also called leaders of countries including Saudi Arabia to sober down the rift and engage in a healthy discourse.
Turkish President Erdogan with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani
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