Speaking at the UN General Assembly in September, Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad attacked India and said that Jammu and Kashmir had been “invaded and occupied”, and that New Delhi’s action in the state was “wrong”.
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Interacting with reporters in the Malaysian Parliament on Tuesday, the Malaysian PM justified his comments on Kashmir. He said his remarks were an extension of his conversation with Indian PM Modi when the two leaders met on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Summit in Russia in September.
Malaysia, he said, is not taking sides in the matter. “We must know how to manage this problem… (and) our criticism does not side with anyone,” Mahathir was quoted as saying by the Malaysian media.
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“When we make remarks, we are not targeting specifically anyone but we only want both parties to negotiate and not resort to violence,” he added.
Mahathir further said: “Just demanding that both parties negotiate and not use violence. That has always been our policy. Do not use violence and instead, negotiate, or go for arbitration or go to the court of law.”
Mahathir Mohamadadded, “This is what I raised with Modi when I met him at Vladivostok, and my speech is an extension of our stand, that we do not want to see violence erupt. Instead, any dispute, conflict among nations must be settled via negotiation, arbitration or court of law.”
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Mahathir accepted that his comments could be seen negatively by India. He replied in the negative when he was asked if he expected any repercussions for Malaysia’s trade with India.
“I have already spoken to Modi. If there are any unsatisfactory feelings within Modi, he can contact me, but to date, no calls,” he said in response to a question on whether India had expressed any displeasure with him.