The Congress party which earlier said to lend its full support to Modi government for the fight against terrorism, has, however, severely criticized him for breaking protocol to personally welcome Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to India who pledged $20 billion to Pakistan.
Prince Mohammed, who visited India a day after his visit to Pakistan, was received Modi with a warm hug. The Crown Prince had flown back to Saudi Arabia from Pakistan before coming to India. The Prince visited Pakistan days after a Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber attacked a CRPF convoy on February 14, killing 40 soldiers.
“Breaking protocol, a grand welcome to those who pledged $20 billion to Pakistan and praised Pakistan’s ‘anti-terror’ efforts. Is it your way of remembering [the] martyrs of Pulwama?” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted on Wednesday.
India also maintained silence on the Saudi-Pakistan joint statement that has Saudi Arabia lauding Pakistan’s achievements and sacrifices in the war against terrorism, and a call for avoiding the politicization of the UN listing regime.
Randeep Surjewala also tweeted a joint statement by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and said the latter has “virtually” rejected India’s appeal that Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, be designated a global terrorist under the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the United Nations.
Surjewala asked Prime Minister Modi if he would show courage to ask Saudi Arabia to withdraw the statement.
India is among Saudi Arabia’s eight strategic partners with whom it wants to strengthen its ties in politics, security, trade and investment and culture. The other countries include China, Japan, and South Korea in Asia, the US, besides three from Europe.
India is likely to raise the issue of Indian prisoners lodged in jails in Saudi Arabia. In Pakistan, MBS announced the immediate release of 2,107 Pakistani prisoners in Saudi Arabia.