New Delhi: “Every Saudi citizen is praying for peace and stability for our friends,” said Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih when asked if his country will mediate between India and Pakistan.
“I am the Energy Minister, not the Foreign Minister. But I can tell you that every Saudi citizen is praying for peace and stability for our friends,” Khalid Al-Falih told ANI after meeting with Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday night.
The Saudi Energy Minister was in India in his second visit in less than three weeks to attend the wedding of Akash Ambani, the son of industrialist Mukesh Ambani in Mumbai, according to reports.
On Saturday, India said that no offer to mediate had come from any country, including Saudi Arabia.
“I made it very clear and frankly there has been no offer of any mediation from any country. Not from the Saudis, not from any country that there can be any mediation and I think our position is very clear on that,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a media briefing.
He was responding to a question on whether Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir, who is slated to arrive in India on March 11, will play the role of a mediator to defuse tensions between India and Pakistan.
During the visit, the Saudi junior foreign minister is expected to hold talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Adel al-Jubeir had met and held talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on March 7.
Tensions between India and Pakistan heightened following the February 14 attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, in which 40 security personnel had lost their lives.
On February 26, India had carried out air strike at a Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp in Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, eliminating a “large number” of terrorists, according to Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.
The very next day, Pakistani jets violated Indian air space and dropped bombs in Rajouri sector in the state. India said it foiled an attempt by the Pakistan Air Force to carry out strikes in the state by shooting down an F-16 fighter plane.
There has been intense global pressure against Pakistan to stop supporting terrorists and terror outfits after India mounted a diplomatic campaign in this regard.
New Delhi has repeatedly underlined that necessary conditions have to be created for the resumption of dialogue with Islamabad. It has reiterated that terror and talks cannot go together and dialogue has to be held in a conducive atmosphere free from terrorism.
During the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to India last month, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Crown Prince called on all countries to reject the use of terrorism against other countries, dismantle terror infrastructure and cut off all support to terrorism besides punishing the terrorists.