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No Thanks, India Tells Saudi Arabia After Gulf Nation's Attempts at Thawing Tensions With Pakistan

A highly placed source said India has made its position clear that the developments in the sub-continent pertained to terrorism and it did not require mediation between India and Pakistan.

Maha Siddiqui | CNN-News18

Updated:March 11, 2019, 2:48 PM IST
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No Thanks, India Tells Saudi Arabia After Gulf Nation's Attempts at Thawing Tensions With Pakistan
File photo of Sushma Swaraj. (PTI)
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New Delhi: On Monday evening, Saudi Foreign Minister of State Adel Al Jubeir will make a visit to India for just a little over four hours. From the airport, he will head directly to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he will then hold talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and will head back immediately post the meeting. As surprising as the short duration of the visit appears, the fact that this will be his third interaction with the Indian side in 20 days has also piqued interest.

Add to this another development; just last week, Jubeir was in Islamabad after much speculation of him visiting earlier when Indo-Pak tensions were at their peak. Pakistan 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 Mohammad Bin Salman. However, it so turned out that Al Jubeir stayed back in Abu Dhabi and had a pull-aside with 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 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 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 it 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 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 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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