Pakistan, Saudi Arabia call for resolution of Kashmir issue

The two sides stressed the importance of dialogue between Pakistan and India to resolve the outstanding issues between the two countries

April 08, 2024 11:38 pm | Updated 11:38 pm IST - NEW DELHI

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 in his palace on the eve of 29th Ramadan, during the holy month of Ramadan, in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, April 7, 2024.

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 in his palace on the eve of 29th Ramadan, during the holy month of Ramadan, in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, April 7, 2024. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Ahead of the festival of Eid, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in a joint statement have called for resolving all issues between India and Pakistan including the issue of Kashmir. The statement was issued at the end of the official visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to Saudi Arabia where he met with Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia. 

“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 declared. Mr. Sharif, who took charge a month ago, had raised the Kashmir issue while speaking at the National Assembly (NA) of Pakistan saying, “Let’s all come together […] and the National Assembly should pass a resolution for the freedom of Kashmiris and Palestinians”.

Strained ties

India-Pakistan relations remain cold and both sides do not have High Commissioners in Islamabad and New Delhi. The last time an attempt was made to normalise ties was in 2015 which was derailed after terror attacks on Pathankot and Uri which ultimately led to the surgical strike by India. On the contrary, India’s relations with Saudi Arabia have been growing stronger. Apart from strong hydrocarbon imports by India, Saudi Arabia is also host to a large Indian population. That apart Prince Salman represented his country at the G20 summit held in September 2023 where the India Middle East Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) was launched. The IMEC is an economic corridor that is aimed at connecting India with Europe through the Gulf region and Israel. 

The IMEC came under a cloud after Israel launched the current military operation against Hamas in Gaza after the October 7 terror attacks against Israel. However, the Indian side has maintained that the project will remain viable because of economic dynamics. The Pakistan-Saudi Arabia joint statement also called for an end to the crisis in Gaza. “They urged international efforts to halt Israeli military operations in Gaza, mitigate the humanitarian impact and underscored the imperative for the international community to pressure Israel to cease hostilities, adhere to international law, and facilitate unhindered humanitarian aid access to Gaza.”

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