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In quiet visit to Saudi Arabia, NSA Doval apprises Crown Prince of Kashmir situation


New Delhi: National Security Advisor Ajit Doval paid a two-day quiet visit to Saudi Arabia during which he apprised Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir after the state's special status was withdrawn, official sources said on Wednesday.

The Saudi side conveyed to Doval that it is aware of New Delhi's long-held position on Kashmir and emphasised on the need for de-escalation of tension between India and Pakistan, they said.

The NSA arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

Doval and Salman also deliberated on a range of bilateral, regional issues including the missile and drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities last month and ways to further deepen anti-terror cooperation.

Saudi Arabia is a key pillar of India's energy security, being a source of 17 per cent or more of crude oil and 32 per cent of LPG requirements of India.

Notwithstanding the attack on its oil facilities on September 14, Saudi Arabia assured India that it was committed to meet the country's energy security needs.

Ties between India and Pakistan came under severe strain after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir's special status, and bifurcated it into two union territories.

Pakistan reacted angrily to the move and expelled the Indian envoy. Since then, Pakistan has been trying to rally international support against India on the issue.

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al Jubeir and UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan visited Islamabad last month in the midst of escalating tension between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.

India also launched a diplomatic outreach to apprise major countries about its decisions on Jammu and Kashmir.

Saudi Arabia, known to be a key ally of Pakistan, has been siding with India in its campaign to rid the region of terrorism and pledged to extend all cooperation to effectively deal with the challenge.

Both countries already signed several agreements in the field of security, including an extradition treaty.

During Salman's visit here in February, the two countries decided to constitute a comprehensive security dialogue and set up a joint working group on counter-terrorism to effectively deal with challenges of terrorism.

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