Saudi Arabia to play role in reducing Pak-India tension

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia has decided to play a proactive diplomatic role for reduction of tension between Pakistan and India by impressing upon New Delhi to ease restrictions clamped on the people of IOK without further delay.

Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman received Indian National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajeet Doval in Riyadh and had secret talks with him pertaining to situation in the region. Ajeet is known as architect of IOK annexation in India and letting loose cruelties on the innocent people of IOK. Ajeet, who reached Saudi capital on Tuesday now has returned to New Delhi, and he has briefed his Prime Minister Narendra Modi about his discussions in Saudi Arabia.

Highly-placed diplomatic sources told The News here Wednesday that Saudi Royal leadership is perturbed about the developments in South Asia and especially pertaining to Kashmir. The sources said that Ajeet briefed the Crown Prince about India’s point of view as an envoy of the Indian Prime Minister. Crown Prince Salman asked Indian interlocutor to resist from taking any action that could deteriorate the situation.

He stressed upon the need for de-escalation of tension between Pakistan and India. Indian sources have claimed that Doval and Salman also deliberated on a range of bilateral, regional issues, including the missile and drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities last month and ways to deepen anti-terror cooperation. Saudi Arabia is a key pillar of India’s energy security, being a source of 17 percent or more of crude oil and 32 percent of LPG requirements of India.

Notwithstanding the biggest ever attack on its oil facilities on September 14 that knocked out half of its daily oil production, Saudi Arabia assured India that it was committed to meet the country’s energy security needs. Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al Jubeir and UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan visited Islamabad last month in the midst of escalating tension between Pakistan and India on the Kashmir issue.

The Indian media has reported that Saudi Arabia, known to be a key ally of Pakistan, has been siding with India in its campaign to rid the region of terrorism and pledged to extend all cooperation to effectively deal with the challenge. Both countries already signed several agreements in the field figured in the discussion which Saudi crown Prince expressed understanding about India’s approach and actions in the occupied valley, they said.

India abrogated Article 370 in Indian Occupied Kashmir on August 5 and bifurcated the state into two new Union Territories- Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh.

Doval visit to Saudi Arabia highlights the regular and ongoing close consultations at highest levels between the two sides on issues of mutual importance, the sources said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and NSA Ajit Doval have developed close ties with the Saudi leadership over the last five years, which have also been credited for the closer security and intelligence cooperation between two countries. Sources said the visit will further strengthen the deep bond between the two countries and help identify specific areas of cooperation at a time when Saudi Arabia is looking to diversify its economy in line with the crown prince’s vision 2030.

Saudi has announced that it will make investments worth nearly USD 100 billion in India. The NSA also had a meeting with his Saudi counterpart Musaid Al Alban, who chairs the Council of Political and Security Affairs of Saudi Arabia. He is also Chairman of National Cyber Security Authority.

“They both discussed issues of national and regional security. Both sides highlighted the importance of close security ties,” the sources said

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