Saudi official’s Pak/India journeys sought to calm stress


Recent visits to both Pakistan and India by Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir were intended to calm tensions between the two nuclear-armed Asian rivals, according to Saudi officials.

In a Tuesday statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the Saudi Council of Ministers said the twin visits had been meant to “preempt anything that might affect the region’s security and stability”.

According to the SPA, Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz was thoroughly briefed on the outcome of al-Jubeir’s recent trips to the subcontinent.

The news agency provided no further details.

On Monday, al-Jubeir paid a short visit to India, where he addressed regional issues and bilateral cooperation. In late February, he paid a similar visit to Pakistan.

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

The situation escalated further after warplanes from both sides engaged in a dogfight on Feb. 27 over the border of the disputed Kashmir region.

Afterwards, both India and Pakistan claimed to have downed each other’s aircraft, while an Indian pilot was captured by Pakistani soldiers.

Since India and Pakistan were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of which were fought over Kashmir.