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Saudi Arabia’s evolving stance on Kashmir

ANM Desk

Saudi Arab-India Relations: In a significant diplomatic development, Saudi Arabia has echoed India’s position on the longstanding issue of Jammu and Kashmir in a joint statement with Pakistan. The statement urges both nations to address their “outstanding issues” through bilateral dialogue.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud and Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met. They issued a joint statement. The leaders emphasized the importance of dialogue. They stressed the need for dialogue between India and Pakistan. The aim is to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. Their goal is to ensure regional peace and stability.

“The statement read, ‘The two sides stressed the importance of dialogue between Pakistan and India to resolve the outstanding issues between the two countries, especially the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, to ensure peace and stability in the region.'”

In addition to discussing bilateral relations, the leaders also exchanged views on regional and global developments. They highlighted concerns over the situation in Gaza. Both Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called for international efforts. Their aim is to halt Israeli military operations in Gaza and mitigate the humanitarian impact. They emphasized the importance of pressuring Israel to adhere to international law. Additionally, they stressed the need to facilitate humanitarian aid access to the region.

India has consistently maintained that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of its territory, reiterating its stance amid international scrutiny. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has expressed its desire for normal relations with all neighbouring countries, including Pakistan, emphasizing the need for an environment free of terror and hostility.

Shift in Saudi’s ‘post Art 370’ stand?

Earlier, Saudi Arabia had demonstrated a balanced approach towards the Kashmir dispute. It maintained a stance of concern over India’s decision to revoke Article 370 in August 2019 while refraining from outright condemnation. Saudi Arabia acknowledged it as an internal matter of India.

The Middle Eastern nation’s nuanced stance was observed amid escalating tensions between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue. In 2019, Pakistan urged the United States to intervene and encourage India to engage in talks for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute. This request followed an offer from then-US President Donald Trump to mediate between the two nations.

However, India’s External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, reiterated India’s position on bilateral dialogue. He clarified that any discussions on the matter, if deemed necessary, would exclusively occur between India and Pakistan.

India has consistently emphasized that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the country, both historically and legally. New Delhi has expressed its willingness to foster normal and friendly relations with Pakistan. However, this is contingent upon Pakistan refraining from supporting terrorism and hostile actions against India.

Saudi Arabia’s cautious stance underscores the complexities of regional politics and the delicate balance it must maintain amidst competing interests. While expressing concern over developments in Kashmir, Saudi Arabia has stopped short of taking a position that could escalate tensions in the region. Instead, it opts for a diplomatic approach that acknowledges India’s sovereignty while recognizing Pakistan’s concerns.

 Cautious diplomacy

The delicate diplomatic dance surrounding the Kashmir issue reflects the broader challenges of maintaining stability and cooperation in South Asia. As both India and Pakistan navigate their complex relationship, the role of international actors such as Saudi Arabia and the United States becomes increasingly significant. These actors play a crucial role in facilitating dialogue and easing tensions.

As tensions persist in the region, the need for diplomatic engagement and peaceful resolutions remains paramount. Both India and Pakistan have reiterated their desire for stability and progress. They indicate a willingness to engage in dialogue under the right conditions.

The international community continues to closely monitor developments in South Asia. It emphasizes promoting dialogue and de-escalation to prevent further conflict and foster lasting peace in the region.

The alignment of Saudi Arabia’s stance with India’s position on Jammu and Kashmir adds a new dimension to the geopolitical landscape. This alignment has the potential to influence future diplomatic engagements and regional alliances.

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