The unknowing hand of Saudi Crown Prince, and an ‘excitable’ Indian media

by Garry Watts February 22, 2019, 0:59
The unknowing hand of Saudi Crown Prince, and an ‘excitable’ Indian media

In an interview with India's NDTV, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir lauded Pakistan's efforts in the war against terror and said Islamabad had lost thousands of soldiers and civilians in the fight against terrorist outfits in the tribal areas.

India-Saudi Joint statement: Need for creating conditions necessary for resumption of the comprehensive dialogue between India and Pakistan.

The global community led by the U.S. has pressed Pakistan to deny safe haven to terror groups operating from its soil and bring the perpetrators of the Pulwama attack to justice.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is set to arrive in China on Thursday in the middle of a multi-country swing through Asia that may burnish his image overseas as ties with western leaders remain strained. The prince, known as MBS, is in India along with leading Saudi businessmen and company representatives at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Asked whether Saudi Arabia will try to mediate between the two countries, he said, "We will not involve ourselves into the tensions between India and Pakistan without being invited by both the countries".

"We are not limited to that investment (Ratnagiri refinery), which is the mega refinery.we are looking at other opportunities", he said.

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"As far as terrorism and extremism are concerned - which are common concerns - I want to tell India that we will extend all cooperation to you, be it intelligence sharing, not only with India but also with the neighbouring countries", he said.

India should build its relations with Saudi Arabia as it is in its interest to do so. India´s opposition Congress party meanwhile criticised Modi for welcoming the crown prince "with such abundance - only hours after he promised billions to Pakistan" while Indians were in grief over the Kashmir attack.

Sandeep Adhwaryu illustrates the reaction of Pakistan Army, Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and Pakistan PM Imran Khan to Mohammed Bin Salman's "concern" over terrorism during his India visit. Such an eventuality would also be counter-productive to Riyadh, emboldening Iran's own agenda in Saudi's extended neighbourhood which has seen deep entrenchment of Tehran-backed Shiite militias and groups in both Syria and Iraq. Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng and Crown Prince Mohammed will then co-chair the third meeting of the China-Saudi Arabia High-Level Joint Committee.

He also said the Pakistan-Saudi Arabia joint statement during the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to Islamabad on February 18 calling for avoiding "politicisation" of the United Nations listing regime was not at all directed at India's efforts to list JeM chief Azhar as a "global terrorist".

In another important takeaway, Salman also announced the increase in quota for Indian Haj pilgrims to 200,000.

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