Malaysia is too small of a nation to respond to India's boycott of palm oil with trade retaliation, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday.

"We are too small to take retaliatory action. We have to find ways and means to overcome that," Mahathir told reporters in Langkawi, a resort island off the western coast of Malaysia.

India, the world's largest edible oil buyer, this month halted Malaysian palm oil imports after Mahathir's comments criticising New Delhi over its policy on Kashmir.

Mahathir Mohamad become Malaysian
Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir MohamadReuters

The country is also planning to cut some imports from Turkey and widen the curbs on on palm oil from Malaysia to oil, gas and other products, government officials said, targeting the two Muslim-majority countries.

"Our government has not taken kindly the comments of Malaysia and Turkey and we will restrict trade from both the countries," a government official had earlier told Reuters. 

The Indian Commerce Ministry did not reply to an email seeking comment.

Malaysian stance on Kashmir

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said recently Hindu-majority India was "invading and occupying the country" of Jammu and Kashmir and Turkey's Tayyip Erdogan had said Kashmiris are "virtually under blockade".

The Indian government withdrew the autonomy of Kashmir last year to tighten its grip on the region, shutting down internet access and detaining activists and politicians. India's Supreme Court last week ruled an indefinite shutdown of the internet in Kashmir was illegal.

Palm oil fruits
A worker unloads palm oil fruits from a lorry inside a palm oil factory in Salak Tinggi, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.Reuters

Tension between India and Malaysia, the world's second-biggest producer and exporter of palm oil after Indonesia, further escalated after 94-year-old Mahathir criticised India's new citizenship law that critics say discriminates against Muslims.

Turkey meanwhile has sided with Pakistan on issues such as its membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which oversees the export of goods that can be used for nuclear weapons manufacturing.

Turkey is also against the blacklisting of Pakistan by the world financial watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force, to curb its alleged financing of terror, something India has been lobbying for hard.

Indian trade data indicates that overall imports from both Malaysia and Turkey had already taken a hit last year.

(With inputs from Reuters.)