The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia could decide to ‘correct’ the ‘distorted’ map on its 20 Riyal banknote at the requests of the Indian government, reports indicated. Adding that Saudi Arabia is also likely to withdraw the banknote soon, reports said the two sides had reached a consensus on India’s position in Jammu & Kashmir.
As first reported by EurAsian Times last month, Saudi Arabia had released a 20 Riyal banknote to commemorate its presidency of the G-20 summit on 21-22 November 2020. The backside of the note had angered both India and Pakistan as the map showed the whole of Jammu and Kashmir, including Pakistan-controlled Kashmir as a separate territory altogether. The map also did not show Gilgit-Baltistan as part of Pakistani territory.
The territory of Kashmir is disputed between India and Pakistan for the past 70 years, and Saudi Arabia seems to have ignored the claims of both the neighbors over the Kashmir region, even neglecting the concerns of its long-time ally Pakistan.
But now there are all the indications of the Kingdom endorsing India’s claim on the territories of Jammu & Kashmir by releasing a new map. Considering the relations between the two countries are reaching new heights, with commercial transactions happening in billions, through trade and mutual investments, Saudi Arabia is expected to officially acknowledge India’s claims on the Kashmir territory.
The ties between India and Saudi Arabia have grown exponentially in recent times. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October last year visited Riyadh, signing the Strategic Partnership Council Agreement, which identifies India as Saudi Arabia’s strategic partner country under ‘Vision 2030.’
Saudi Arabia has given clear indications of where its priorities lie, which is India. The kingdom is slated to invest 15 billion USD in India’s Reliance Industries, as reported by Economic Times on 10 August 2020. Then there is the investment of around 60 billion USD in an oil refinery in India by the Kingdom, other than a plethora of other high-value investments into various Indian companies.
On the other hand, the relations of Saudi Arabia with Pakistan have hit a new low after a slew of political and geopolitical tensions this year. The Kingdom has repeatedly refused to endorse the position of Pakistan on Kashmir on multiple international platforms, resulting in criticism of its foreign policy from Pakistani leaders.
The tensions had reached a stage where Saudi Arabia decided to end a loan and associated oil supplies to the cash-strapped country after Islamabad criticized the Kingdom on its Kashmir stand in the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC).
The new geopolitical developments have worsened this division, however, once Joe Biden takes an oath in January, Saudi Arabia may not enjoy the backing it did under Trump’s regime, which could force it to tone down its rhetoric. The ongoing G20 Summit is going to throw up some interesting news about the power divisions underway across the world, and a consensus on Kashmir.