Monday, April 19, 2021

Saudi Arabia’s ‘Diwali Gift’ to India, Chops-Off Gilgit-Baltistan & Kashmir From Pakistan’s Map

When the UAE announced the formalisation of ties with Israel on 14 August 2020, it was a gift to Pakistan on its Independence Day, which also had ironically come, only ten days after the devastating Beirut Blast in Lebanon on August 4.

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) was the guiding force behind it as well as the deal of ‘normalisation’ of ties between Bahrain with Israel. It had been a foregone conclusion that KSA would also follow suit, as was indicated by Israel’s Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen in an interview with Channel 12 News on October 25.

Cohen said he believed KSA and Israel will soon open-up their embassies, after the November 2020 US elections conclude. It can now be anybody’s guess that all the 22 Arab states are likely to reciprocate their ‘embassy move’ with Israel, with the exception of Pakistan, Iran, and maybe Qatar.

The KSA-Israel normalisation process had been well on the cards but the issue which stems from the ‘hubris’ is its fallout, with particular reference to Pakistan. The KSA crown prince MBS had in a fit of rage after Pakistan critiqued Riyadh over the Kashmir issue. KSA also forced Islamabad to repay the one billion loan.

Pakistan promptly repaid the loan with China’s help. The country was also deprived of oil supply on deferred loans from the kingdom. The KSA added more humiliation to Pakistan after announcing the amount of 1 billion USD, which Pakistan had returned, was to be invested in Reliance Jio Fiber in India.

The Islamic Kingdom’s humiliation of Pakistan did not stop there since now the real portent of the love affair between KSA and Israel has been uncovered. On October 24, Saudi Arabia released a 20 Riyal banknote to commemorate its presidency of organising G-20 summit on 21-22 November 2020. The backside of the note is enough to leave Pakistan, KSA’s once most trusted ally, all aghast!

The world map displayed on the backside of the note does not show Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Kashmir as parts of Pakistan. The territory of Kashmir is disputed between India and Pakistan from the past 70 years.

A part of it is in Pakistan and another part is with India, and both the nations are on the boil since 5 August 2019, when India’s PM Narendra Modi removed Article 370 from J&K, which gave it special status, irking China too in the process.

The decision led both China and Pakistan dragging the issue of Kashmir to the UNSC thrice in the past one year. China has staked its claim inside Ladakh and in Arunachal Pradesh, as well as in Himachal Pradesh inside India.

Pakistan had signalled to form a new bloc with Turkey, Iran, Malaysia, China and Russia and has started looking for avenues outside the dictates of the US.

Hence, according to the official KSA stand, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir are now independent nations. This move by the Islamic Kingdom is a slap on Pakistan’s face which had released the country’s new political map on 5 August 2020 and, prompting New Delhi to call it ‘political absurdity.’

Saudi Arabia’s priorities clearly lie with India, as the kingdom is slated to invest 15 billion USD in India’s Reliance Industries, as reported by Economic Times on 10 August, 2020. The same newspaper on 22 August announced that the Saudi Kingdom was looking forward to investing in a 60 billion USD oil refinery in India.

The country’s coming mega investments in India, while rejecting any financial aid to Pakistan, are surely nothing short of a ‘double-Diwali blast’, which India must have been waiting for ages.

If India was to portray the world map in this form, it may have been conceived as it is in conflict with Pakistan but is KSA also in conflict with Pakistan? Or else the agenda of Israel which is ‘too fixed’ to get Pakistan workforce and also its military involved in the KSA security apparatus, be evicted from inside KSA and later from the entire Gulf region, in order to starve Pakistan and bring it to its knees, is soon on the anvil too?

India is already quite ready to replace the vacuum with its workforce. Thus, KSA, Israel and India are likely to have a ‘springtime’ in the Gulf region in the days to come.  

The KSA’s annihilation of Pakistan, it may be mentioned, is definitely targeted more on China, as it is China which is to carve its CPEC through GB and it was on China’s advice that Pakistan recently announced GB to be its fifth province, where elections are scheduled to be held on 15 November.

And, it may be known that when India had decided to put on air GB weather report on 8 May, 2020, it made China see red. China took a stringent note of this move and raised the temperatures on the border with India, as the communist nation construed the Indian move to be a spanner in its most coveted project, i.e. the CPEC.  

The KSA’s step is nothing short of an attempt to disgrace Pakistan, which also seems to be adapting to its new bloc. In the new world order, the US is pitted against Pakistan, as is India, and KSA will help the US to finally contain China.

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