Riyadh: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrapped up his day-long visit to Riyadh late on Tuesday night, the joint press statement made an important assertion as it said while the two sides discussed regional and international issues, they “reiterated their categorical rejection of all forms of interference in the internal affairs of countries”.
Since August 5, India has been repeatedly citing that the scrapping of Article 370 is an internal matter and has reacted sharply to comments from any country pertaining to the move. It has argued that Article 370 was a temporary provision in the Constitution and India was well within its rights to change that.
The mention assumes significance as Pakistan has been terming the move “India’s unilateral and illegal actions of August 5”. India has clarified that the move had no bearing on the status of the LoC and it was willing to discuss that with Pakistan based on the Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration in a bilateral manner without any third-party mediation.
It is, however, important to note that Kashmir was not mentioned in PM Modi’s meeting with King Salman, according to a source privy to the conversation. But post the PM’s speech at FII, there was a meeting and dinner engagement with the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman as well.
The joint statement also points out “the need for the international community to fulfill its responsibilities towards preventing any attacks on the sovereignty of States”. Pakistan had also got its all-weather friend China to take up the issue of Kashmir at the UNSC on August 16 in “closed consultations”, days after the move on Kashmir was explained by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to his counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing.
Though out of the discussion room in New York, as India is not currently a UNSC member, it worked in the background to get 14 of the 15 countries to be on its side. However, PM Modi used the FII 2019 platform to hit out at the UN as well. He said the UN has been “used as an instrument by the powerful” and had failed in playing the role of a neutral, global, rules-based organisation”.