Attacking the Modi government for the red-carpet welcome accorded to Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Congress party said that PM Modi broke protocol to receive the crown prince at the airport after he had announced an investment of $20 billion in Pakistan. The party also accused that the PM Modi “forgot” to write the name of “terror nourisher” Pakistan in the joint statement issued by India and Saudi Arab after the meeting between Modi and Salman.
By breaking protocol and welcoming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman with such abundance – only hours after he promised billions to Pakistan – PM Modi has shown the country, the martyrs and every soldier in India what he thinks of their service & sacrifice. pic.twitter.com/YPJa2Q1cFT
— Congress (@INCIndia) February 20, 2019
By making such statements, the Congress party has again displayed that opposition to Modi outweighs the national interests of India for the party.
Since the beginning of the India-Pakistan conflict, India has been consistently maintaining that it is a bilateral issue between the two nations and other countries have no role to play. India has rejected offers for mediation made by various countries, while Pakistan is trying hard to take the issue to international level. It is not in India’s interest to hyphenate the Pakistan issue with any other bilateral or multilateral relations. And this is not a new stand taken by the Modi government when Congress party was in power, the same approach was taken by the Indian government.
In that backdrop, it is a big surprise why Congress party would try to link the Saudi crown prince’s visit with Pakistan. The Indian government is so keen to delink the visit from Pakistan that they actually asked the crown prince to go back to Saudi from Pakistan and then coming to India, instead of travelling directly from Pakistan to India, which was accepted by Salman. Saudi Arabia is an important trade partner of India, and therefore it is in India’s interests to keep a healthy diplomatic relation with the country without linking it with any third country.
Congress party talks about Saudi proposal to invest $20 billion in India, but they forgot to mention that the same country also announced that they will invest in excess of $100 billion in India.
The Crown Prince also condemned the Pulwama terror attack in “strongest terms”. Moreover, the joint statement did talk about Pakistan, with the crown prince appreciating the consistent efforts by PM Modi to have a friendly relationship with Pakistan. The statement also read, “In this context, both sides agreed on the need for creation of conditions necessary for the resumption of the comprehensive dialogue between India and Pakistan”. The terms “need for creation of conditions necessary” is important here, because it implies that at present conditions are not right at present for talks between Indian and Pakistan.
The joint statement also said that “Both sides called upon all countries to renounce the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy. They also called upon all states to deny access to weapons including missiles and drones to commit terrorist acts against other countries.” The statement also called for the dismantling of terrorist infrastructure, cut any kind of support and financing to terrorists, and bringing perpetrators of acts of terrorism to justice. Even without naming Pakistan, these are very significant statements coming from Saudi Arabia.