Malaysia neutral vis-a-vis Jammu and Kashmir – PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad on Tuesday said that Malaysia is distancing itself from any bias in the tension between India and Pakistan over the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region.

In a press release, he said that his recent speech at the 74th UN General Assembly on Jammu and Kashmir is “unbiased” towards anyone, hoping the dispute resorts to arbitration, urging India and Pakistan not to resort to military force in the Jammu and Kashmir conflict, calling on both sides to negotiate and conclude with a peaceful solution to satisfy them.

Mahathir’s controversial UN speech read “despite the UN resolution on Jammu and Kashmir, the country has been invaded and occupied,” which eventually angered Indian activists and leaders who are widely demanding their government to boycott Malaysia.

Mahathir’s statement that India was occupying and invading Jammu and Kashmir, was misunderstood as taking Pakistan’s side, in which Malaysia remained neutral.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said in a parliament session that trade relations with India are strong, as it is Malaysia’s 10th largest trading partner, adding that Malaysia is trying to get Indian tourists into their country.

“It’s not about Muslims, but about those who are being oppressed. We need to speak up,” he justified Mahathir’s statement, adding that the government might resort to “full-fledged megaphone diplomacy,” since the foreign policy has an active role in international issues.

India has scrapped an article in the country’s constitution that grants New Delhi-controlled Kashmir a special status, sparking Pakistani protests that its diplomatic ties with India have been severed and trade suspended.

Source: Kuwait News Agency