Riyadh: Saudi Arabia has told Pakistan that it considers Jammu and Kashmir India’s internal matter, a top Indian official who was part of the bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told ThePrint.
The official, who did not want to be named, also said discussions bordered on Pakistan’s efforts at asking other nations to take action against India for scrapping Articles 370 and 35A which gave special status to J&K.
“Pakistan did come up (during the Prime Minister’s meeting with Saudi leadership). Pakistanis were told by the Saudi that they consider Kashmir as India’s internal matter in which they do not want to interfere. Pakistan is coming to them all the time, but they are not getting any support,” the official said.
Modi was on a day-long visit to Riyadh Tuesday. It was his first visit to the Kingdom after the removal of J&K’s special status and after becoming the prime minister for a second time in May this year. He held wide-ranging talks with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
During his visit to Riyadh earlier this month, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had urged the Kingdom to support Islamabad’s stance on Kashmir. But the Pakistani PM wasn’t given any assurance by the Saudi leadership.
‘Greater political understanding of India’s position’
The Saudis have made it clear to India that its support to Islamabad on the issue of Article 370 was only a “gesture”.
“There is now a greater political understanding of India’s position…Saudis have told Pakistan that what India is doing in Kashmir is New Delhi’s internal matter,” the official added.
India and Saudi Arabia also launched a ‘Strategic Partnership Council’ that will cover all aspects of the relationship from politics to culture and will have a mandatory biennial summit-level meeting.
Both sides had issued a joint statement earlier this week stating that they reject “all forms of interference in the internal affairs of countries”, hinting at Pakistan’s call for action against India over the withdrawal of J&K’s special status.
The statement also took a dig at the US, without so much as naming it, and harped on the “need for the international community to fulfill its responsibilities towards preventing any attacks on the sovereignty of States”.
It had come after the US Congress recently raised questions on the human rights of people in J&K and also of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam while discussing the condition of minority communities in India.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.