Joint Statement: Saudi Arabia Backs India on Kashmir Issue

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The conflict between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir dispute became an international issue. Due to that, this topic has been raised numerous times in international meetings. Pakistan considers Kashmir its core political dispute with India. This issue has also been taken to the United Nations, where India claimed that Pakistanis were living illegally in many parts of Jammu and Kashmir and considered those parts as their legal territory. Not only India but other countries as well raised the Kashmir issue at the UN, including Pakistan. Several countries are in support of India over the Kashmir issue, and in this list, one more country has been added. 

 During an official meeting with Pakistan, Saudi Arabia presented their views on the Kashmir issue and echoed the stand of India on it. According to multiple reports, Saudi Arabia has seemed to support the stand of India on Jammu and Kashmir. Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, held an official meeting with Shehbaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, at the Al-Safa palace in Mecca. During their meeting, both heads of state talked about numerous topics, including the importance of talking between India and Pakistan to settle “outstanding” issues, including the Kashmir conflict. 

 The joint statement between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia was issued on Sunday, April 7, highlighting several regional issues, including Kashmir. Both leaders indulged in deep conversation, and Riyad presented his views on the Kashmir issue and repeated the long-held position of New Delhi on it. The joint statement reads, “The two sides stressed the importance of dialogue between Pakistan and India to resolve the outstanding issues between the two countries, especially the Jammy and Kashmir dispute, to ensure peace and stability in the region.” 

 The long-held position of India on Kashmir has been that it is a bilateral issue between Pakistan and India, and there is no question of any intervention or mediation by any other country or third party. India has already told Pakistan at international forums and in numerous dialogues that J&K “was, is, and will always” remain a fundamental part of India. It is not the first time Saudi Arabia has made such a statement; the country has always maintained a balanced approach towards the Kashmir issue. In 2019, Pakistan encouraged the US to “persuade” India to begin talks on a peaceful resolution over the Jammu and Kashmir conflict. The urge for Pakistan came after former US President Donald Trump offered to intervene between Pakistan and India on the Kashmir issue. 

 However, S. Jaishankar, the External Affairs Minister, has already made it clear that any kind of discussion over the Kashmir issue will only happen between both nations. He said, “Any discussion on the issue, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally.” 

 It was Sharif’s maiden foreign visit during his second term as Prime Minister of Pakistan, and he visited Saudi Arabia for the first time as  PM. The foreign visit comes as Pakistan is dealing with serious economic and security crises. Apart from the Kashmir issue, the Saudi Crown Prince and PM of Pakistan also talked about financial help for bankrupt Pakistan. The two heads of state also talked about global and regional development, including the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. 

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