Farooq Abdullah Questions Saudi Minister’s 4-Hour Delhi Visit Despite India’s No Mediation Policy on Pakistan
As surprising as the short duration of the visit appeared, the fact that this was the Saudi foreign minister's third interaction with the Indian government in 20 days has also piqued interest.
File photo of Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. (Reuters)
New Delhi: National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah has questioned Saudi foreign minister Adel Al Jubeir’s visit to New Delhi on Monday, and asked why the Narendra Modi government was internationalising the India-Pakistan issue.
India has always rejected all attempts to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, and maintained that it will be solved bilaterally only.
Targeting the BJP government, Abdullah said the escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan after the recent air strikes and the subsequent dogfight has meant the issue of Jammu and Kashmir has been internationalised.
“Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister is sitting in Delhi trying to negotiate between Pakistan and India. What is he doing there? Who internationalized the issue?” he asked while speaking to News18.
On Monday evening, the Saudi foreign minister of state, Adel Al Jubeir, made a visit to India for just a little over four hours. From the airport he went directly to call on PM Narendra Modi and then held talks with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj after which he will immediately head back.
As surprising as the short duration of the visit appeared, the fact that this was his third interaction with the Indian government in 20 days has also piqued interest.
Add to this the fact that just last week, Jubeir was in Islamabad after much speculation of him visiting earlier when Indo-Pak tensions were at their peak.
Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, had himself announced that Al Jubeir would visit Islamabad on March 1, the day of the OIC plenary in Abu Dhabi, with an important message from Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.
However, it so turned out that Al Jubeir stayed back in Abu Dhabi and had a pull-aside with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
News18 has learnt that even after the quick interaction in Abu Dhabi, the Saudi side showed interest in the minister himself coming down to New Delhi on March 2 to meet Sushma Swaraj again. This was ostensibly the Gulf nation’s attempt at thawing the tension between India and Pakistan. However, the Indian side made it known that New Delhi was not looking for any mediation.
A highly placed source said that India has made its position clear that the developments in the sub-continent pertained to terrorism. It did not require mediation between India and Pakistan. It simply required Pakistan to take immediate, credible and verifiable action against terror groups acting from its soil.
Another source pointed out that it appeared Saudi Arabia was keen to project itself as a mediator, nonetheless. The Saudi minister wanted to come directly from Islamabad last week to New Delhi. India finally conveyed the message that the visit could be possible only if acts as a follow-up exercise on Crown Prince MBS’ visit last week and is not an Indo-Pak centric one.
On Saturday, however, when asked why Al Jubeir was again meeting Sushma Swaraj so soon after the Abu Dhabi meeting, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Raveesh Kumar said, “It was a meeting on the sidelines. I think there is a difference between a meeting on the sidelines and a proper meeting.”
Even though India says no formal offer of mediation has been made, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had suggested in a press interaction the US that America played a crucial role.
He said, “…in times of high tension, it is often difficult and so it requires sometimes someone else to come in and try and make sure that good reason and logic prevail.” Even Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi claimed that they played an important mediator between India and Pakistan. All this while India insisted, no mediation, please.
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