October 2019 News

On 'Quiet Visit' To Saudi Arabia, NSA Ajit Doval Apprises Crown Prince Of Kashmir Situation

2 October 2019

New Delhi: National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval paid a two-day 'quiet visit' to Saudi Arabia during which he apprised Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir after the state's special status was withdrawn in August, official sources said on Wednesday. Doval arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. Doval called on the Saudi Crown Prince days after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the kingdom en route to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. The Saudi side conveyed to Doval that it is aware of New Delhi's long-held position on Kashmir and emphasised on the need for de-escalation of tension between India and Pakistan, they said. Doval and Salman also deliberated on a range of bilateral and regional issues, including the missile and drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities last month and ways to further deepen anti-terror cooperation. The one-on-one talks with the Crown Prince lasted for about two hours, sources said. Doval also had a meeting with his Saudi counterpart, 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. The two sides discussed issues of national and regional security. Both sides highlighted the importance of close security ties. Doval is also expected to interact with top leaders of the United Arab Emirates. Saudi Arabia is a key pillar of India's energy security, being a source of 17% or more of crude oil and 32% of LPG requirements of India. Notwithstanding the biggest ever attack on its oil facilities on September 14 that knocked out half of its daily oil production, Saudi Arabia assured India it was committed to meet the country's energy security needs. Imran Khan had spent two days in Riyadh on his way to New York, and performed Umrah with his wife Bushra Bibi at Mecca. He had also flown in the Prince's special plane to New York, in an effort to highlight the close ties between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Ties between India and Pakistan came under severe strain after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir's special status, and bifurcated it into Union Territories. Pakistan reacted angrily to the move and expelled the Indian envoy. Since then, Pakistan has been trying to rally international support against India on the issue. Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al Jubeir and UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan visited Islamabad last month in the midst of escalating tension between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. India also launched a diplomatic outreach to apprise major countries about its decisions on Jammu and Kashmir. Saudi Arabia, known to be a key ally of Pakistan, has been supporting India in its campaign to rid the region of terrorism and pledged to extend all cooperation to effectively deal with the challenge. Both countries already signed several agreements in the field of security, including an extradition treaty. During Salman's visit here in February, the two countries decided to constitute a comprehensive security dialogue and set up a joint working group on counter-terrorism to effectively deal with challenges of terrorism.