New Delhi: Apparently under pressure from domestic politics, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that India “invaded and occupied” Jammu and Kashmir and asked New Delhi to work with Pakistan to resolve the issue.
Malaysia, a Muslim-majority country, has seen rise of Islamic radicals in recent past. Apparently, Mahathir feared that they could misuse Kuala Lumpur’s stand on J&K to their own advantage, a reason for his pro-Pakistan stand in the UN.
In his address on Friday, he said there could be reasons for India’s action in J&K “but it is still wrong”. Despite UN resolutions, J&K has been “invaded and occupied,” he claimed.
He said ignoring the UN would lead to other forms of disregard for the world body and the rule of law.
Later, addressing a press conference in the UN Headquarters, Mahathir said he had advised his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to resolve the J&K issue through “negotiations” with Pakistan, rather than by “invasion”.
Modi had a word with him on the matter during their meeting at the Eastern Economic Forum meeting at Vladivostok, Russia, earlier this month.
Mahathir said Modi had explained the reason behind revocation of the Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.” He (Modi) also agreed with me that even India has solved problems through negotiations, with Bangladesh and others.”
India had also taken with Malaysia the issue of extradition of radical Islamist televangelist Zakir Naik who fled India and was granted permanent residency by Kuala Lumpur in 2016.
On September 17, the Malaysian PM claimed that Modi did not request Naik’s extradition, but India rebutted saying the issue did come up when the two leaders met in Russia.
Recently, Malaysia had banned Naik’s inflammatory public speeches against Chinese and Hindu Malaysians. He is wanted by Indian authorities since 2016 for alleged money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speeches.