JEDDAH: Days after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit to Saudi Arabia, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman on Wednesday and explained New Delhi's stand on Kashmir. The one-on-one meeting between Doval and the Saudi Crown Prince lasted for about two hours. During the meeting with Doval, Saudi Crown Prince Salman expressed his understanding of India’s approach and actions in Jammu and Kashmir. The stand taken by Saudia Arabia is a major blow for Pakistan because Islamabad sees Riyadh as one of its major supporters.
During the meeting, a host of issues touching various aspects of the bilateral ties were discussed. The visit will further strengthen the deep bonds between the two countries and help identify specific areas of cooperation at a time when Saudi Arabia is looking to diversify its economy in line with MBS’ vision 2030.
This important visit highlights the regular and ongoing close consultations at the highest levels between the two sides on issues of mutual importance. Doval also had a meeting with the Saudi NSA, Musaid Al Aiban, who chairs the Council of Political and Security Affairs of Saudi Arabia.
He is also Chairman of the National Cyber Security Authority. They discussed issues of national and regional security.
Both sides highlighted the importance of close security ties. The NSA is also expected to interact with the top leaders of the UAE.
NSA Doval's Saudi Arabia visit assumes significance not only because he is the highest-ranking emissary of PM Narendra Modi but also since he himself personally spearheaded the government action in Kashmir after Parliament voted to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution.
During his stay, Doval will attempt to counter Pakistan's Kashmir propaganda and emphasise to the Saudi leadership that ''J&K is an internal matter of India.''
The NSA is also expected to tell the Saudi leadership that the Centre's Kashmir move is aimed at integrating J&K with the rest of the country by allowing all laws and benefits applicable to the country in the former state.
While Pakistan’s deliberate attempt to internationalise the Kashmir issue has failed miserably and it has received support from a handful of nations like China, Malaysia and Turkey, the international community has openly and strongly backed India's position on Kashmir.
Interestingly, both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have played a neutral role, despite a statement by the Kashmir Contact Group of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.