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External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar  (ANI)
External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar (ANI)

S. Jaishankar, Saudi foreign minister hold talks

Talks were held before Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s emergency meeting called on the request of Pakistan on the J&K issue

NEW DELHI : Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar spoke to his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan on Monday, on a day the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) "upon the request of Pakistan" was to hold an emergency foreign ministers’ meeting on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

“A warm conversation wth #Saudi FM HH Prince @FaisalbinFarhan. Gratified tht our supply chains&trade commitmnts hve been maintaind evn during #COVID period.Ensurng health needs reflcts the strngth of our ties.Appreciate the gestures mde by Saudi authorities to the Indian community," Jaishankar said in a Twitter post.

According to news reports, the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Niger, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia besides Turkey were to participate in the online OIC meeting where Pakistan was hoping to bring up alleged human rights violations by the Indian government in Kashmir. Islamabad has been making many attempts to focus attention on the matter since India revoked article 370 of its constitution and integrated the region more closely with the rest of the country. The region was also bifurcated into two – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. New Delhi had also detained many political leaders and snapped internet and other communication links in a bid to ensure Pakistan does not trigger violence. Many of the restrictions have been lifted and many of the political leaders freed.

“The OIC has steadfastly supported the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their legitimate struggle for the realization of their inalienable right to self-determination. In addition to the meetings of the Contact Group, the OIC and its human rights body, IPHRC, have consistently pronounced themselves on the issue — condemning and rejecting India’s illegal and unilateral actions while reiterating support to the beleaguered people of IOJ&K (Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir)," a statement from the Pakistan foreign office on Monday said.

Since coming to office in 2014, prime minister Narendra Modi has reached out to countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and others in the wider Gulf region in a bid to shore up India’s economic interests – investments, diaspora as well as energy – as well as to blunt Pakistan’s influence in groups like the OIC. Last year, then Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj was invited by the UAE to attend the foreign ministers’ meet of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) States — the first such invite in five decades.

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