Saudi Arabia’s al-Jubeir meets with Indian officers

ISTANBUL 

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir met with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday in New Delhi.

Al-Jubeir is currently on his first visit to India, only days after visiting Pakistan.

According to the Saudi Foreign Ministry, al-Jubeir also met with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.

The ministry did not, however, provide any detail regarding the topics addressed at the meeting, nor did it mention the duration of al-Jubeir’s visit.

On Sunday, the United News of India reported that al-Jubeir would arrive in India on Monday before meeting Swaraj to discuss bilateral and regional issues.

The Business Standard, a local Indian newspaper, for its part, reported that al-Jubeir’s visit would last only between four and five hours.

Last Thursday, al-Jubeir paid a day-long visit to Islamabad in hopes of offsetting mounting tensions between India and Pakistan.

Tensions between the two neighbors have escalated since a suicide bombing in Indian-administered Kashmir in mid-February left at least 40 Indian troops dead.

Tensions mounted further following last week’s skirmish between the two countries’ air forces in which both sides claimed to have downed each other’s aircraft.

The two South Asian nations have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — since they were partitioned in 1947.

Saudi offers of mediation, meanwhile, are unlikely to impress New Delhi, which has a history of rejecting third-party mediation — especially in regards to the Kashmir dispute.

Saudi Arabia has long been an economic and strategic partner of Islamabad. But Riyadh has avoided getting involved in the Pakistan-India row as it maintains large investments in both countries.

Last month, Saudi Arabia signed trade and investment deals with Pakistan worth some $20 billion, including the establishment of an oil refinery in Pakistan’s strategic port city of Gwadar.

And last year, Saudi state oil company Aramco signed a $44-billion deal with India to build a mega-refinery on India’s west coast.

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