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Saudi Arabia vows to try to ‘de-escalate’ tensions between India and Pakistan

File photo of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Photograph:( AFP )

PTI New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 18, 2019, 06.45 PM (IST)

Saudi Arabia on Monday vowed to try to “de-escalate” tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of the deadly terror attack in Pulwama by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad, as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman prepares to head to New Delhi from Islamabad. 

The terror attack happened when a suicide bomber blew up an explosive-laden vehicle near a convoy of CRPF buses in Pulwama district on Thursday, killing 41 CRPF soldiers.

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir met Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday. Officials said that Qureshi briefed him in detail about the situation after the Pulwama attack in Kashmir.

Tensions have been mounting between the two nuclear-armed neighbours amidst the war of words and diplomatic brinkmanship over the attack. “Our objective is to try to de-escalate tensions between the two countries, neighbouring countries, and to see if there is a path forward to resolving those differences peacefully,” Jubeir told the media.

He also said both countries were facing similar challenges, including the scourge of terrorism. “We want both countries to resolve their conflicts and have peaceful relations,” he said.

Saudi Arabia has influence over Pakistan and the Crown Prince during two-day visit inked at least seven MoUs and agreement to make investments of worth $20 billion. The Kingdom also provided $3 billion loans and another $3 billion oil facility on deferred payment during the past three months.

Jubei’s remarks to make efforts for reducing tensions came as Pakistan on Monday called back its envoy from India for consultations. Pakistan High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood was on Friday summoned in New Delhi by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale who lodged a strong protest. Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria was also called to New Delhi for consultations in the wake of the attack.