Saifuddin: Dr M and Modi spoke of Kashmir

Saifuddin: Dr M and Modi spoke of Kashmir

VLADIVOSTOK: The issue of Jammu and Kashmir was the main topic in the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi yesterday.

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said both leaders generally discussed bilateral relations in the meeting requested by Modi outside the Eastern Economic Forum here.

“Modi took time to clarify the position of Jammu and Kashmir while Mahathir explained Malaysia’s stand that all parties should meet and adhere to United Nations resolutions,” he said at a media conference yesterday.

Saifuddin said Mahathir did not pledge support for or against any parties but hope the conflict would be settled and it would not escalate in a war.

Apart from complying with UN resolutions, Mahathir said the best way to resolve the issue in Kashmir is through negotiations as well as bringing a third party if necessary or to bring the case to international court.

On the significance of the issue on Malaysia, Saifuddin considered Malaysia as an Islamic country with its own position among Islamic countries who can explain the actual situation if the matter is brought up at any international platform.

Media reports stated that the tension between Pakistan and India flared up last month following India’s move to cancel the special status of both Jammu and Kashmir which enabled the people to formulate their own laws and prevent foreigners from residing in the territories.

Jammu and Kashmir, in the Himalayas, has Muslim majority population were divided into two regions controlled by India and Pakistan. Both countries are claiming full control of the two territories.

Since 1947, both countries have gone to war three times in 1948, 1965 and 1971 over control for Kashmir.

On the issue of Dr Zakir Naik, Saifuddin said:” Zakir Naik was mentioned by Modi in passing and he mentioned the matter was being discussed by officers of both countries.

“That was how he (Modi) presented it. Then, Mahathir did not respond as most of the time was used to discuss on Kashmir.”

However, Saifuddin said there was no discussion between his ministry and the Foreign Ministry of India now and it was only a diplomatic note which was sent by India to seek the extradition of Zakir who is a citizen of India with permanent resident status in Malaysia

On the whole. Saifuddin said the issue of Zakir would not affect relations between Malaysia and India.

On the Prime Minister’s meeting with the Russian President Vladmir Putin, he said discussions covered cooperation in aerospace engineering research, sales of palm oil to Russia and offer of military assets to Malaysia.

“Russia offers their latest fighter jets and was willing to take back our old jets but it was not discussed in detailed as the government has not made a decision whether to buy or not,” he said.

In the meeting with Putin, at the Asean Summit in Singapore last year, Mahathir had sought Russia’s assistance to maintain the fighter jets bought from the country.

Bernama