Saudi crown prince calls on India and Pakistan to resolve Kashmir dispute

Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has urged India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir border dispute following a meeting with Pakistani prime minister Shehbaz Sharif amid intensifying tensions between the South Asian rival nations.

The comments came in a joint statement between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan after Mr Sharif met the crown prince on Sunday during a three-day visit to shore up economic support for the cash-strapped economy.

“The two sides stressed the importance of dialogue between Pakistan and India to resolve the outstanding issues between the two countries, (especially the Jammu and Kashmir dispute) to ensure peace and stability in the region,” the joint statement said.

The disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir is the bone of contention between the two neighbours which have fought two of three wars of the region since independence from Britain in 1947. India and Pakistan govern the region in parts but claim in full.

The relations between the two countries dipped to the lowest after an attack on an Indian military convoy in 2019 in India-administered Kashmir in which at least 40 paramilitary forces lost their lives.

Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the attack, prompting India to launch a “surgical strike” in Pakistani territory.

Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman meets Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Bahrain's Crown Prince and Prime Minister Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa (via REUTERS)
Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman meets Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Bahrain's Crown Prince and Prime Minister Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa (via REUTERS)

Saudi Arabia has played a significant role in India’s longstanding friendly relations with Arab countries while Riyadh remains one of India’s largest trading partners in the Gulf region.

Mr Sharif arrived in Riyadh for his maiden visit after becoming the prime minister of the country.

Saudi Arabia agreed to expedite a planned $5bn investment package, which cash-strapped Pakistan desperately needs to shore up its current account deficit and signal to the International Monetary Fund that it can continue to meet requirements for foreign financing.

“Both parties affirmed their commitment to expediting the first wave of investment package worth $5bn, which was discussed previously,” the statement added.

Last year, Saudi Arabia pledged $25bn investment over five years through the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) to attract investments from Arab nations in energy, IT, minerals, defense, and agriculture sectors.

The Saudi prince’s comment came as Indian defence minister Rajnath Sigh told a TV channel that India “will enter Pakistan to kill” those trying to create turmoil on the country’s soil following a news report that Delhi allegedly carried out at least 20 extrajudicial killings in the neighbouring country.

Mr Singh told CNN-News18 TV that "any terrorist trying to create turmoil in India won’t be spared" when he was asked about Guardian’s report.

"If they run away to Pakistan, we will enter Pakistan to kill them," Mr Singh said.

The British newspaper cited Indian and Pakistani officials claiming that the Indian government had killed about 20 people in Pakistan since 2020 as part of a broader plan to eliminate militants residing on foreign soil.

The Indian Foreign Ministry rejected the allegations as “false and malicious anti-India propaganda”. Pakistan’s foreign ministry responded by calling Mr Singh’s remarks "provocative" and "myopic".

"Such myopic and irresponsible behaviour not only undermines regional peace but also impedes the prospects of constructive engagement in the long term," it said.

Meanwhile, a US State Department spokesperson said the US is “not going to get in the middle of this situation” and let both countries find resolution through dialouge to avoid escalation.