Days after accusing India of “invading and occupying the country” of Jammu and Kashmir, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday said that he stands firm over his remarks.
Standing firmly by his remarks on Kashmir at the United Nations General Assembly last month, Mohamad said, “we speak our mind” and “don’t retract and change”.
“We felt that the people of Kashmir had benefited from the resolution of the United Nations, and all we are saying is that we should all abide, not just India and Pakistan, but even the United States of America and other countries. We speak out our mind, we don’t retract and change,” he told reporters at a press conference in Parliament.
“Otherwise, what’s the good of having the UN?” he questioned.
Malaysia had joined Turkey and China in backing Pakistan and raising the Kashmir issue at the UNGA session in New York.
In his address to the 74th UNGA, Mohamad said: “Now, despite the UN resolution on Jammu and Kashmir, the country has been invaded and occupied.”
“There may be reasons for this action but it is still wrong. The problem must be solved by peaceful means. India should work with Pakistan to resolve this problem. Ignoring the UN would lead to other forms of disregard for the UN and the Rule of Law,” said Mahathir.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met Mahathir Mohamad on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum and briefed him on the Kashmir situation among other things.
According to Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, PM Modi took time to clarify the position of Jammu and Kashmir while Mohamad explained Malaysia’s stand that all parties should meet and adhere to United Nations resolutions.
Following the Malaysian PM’s UNGA address, India slammed Mohamad along with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for backing Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir.
“We have traditionally good and friendly ties with Malaysia. These relationships have been enhanced in recent years. We have noted the comment on Jammu and Kashmir by the Prime Minister of Malaysia. We deeply regret these comments since it is not based on facts,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said.
He further asserted that the Government of Malaysia should bear in mind the friendly relations between the two countries and desist from making such comments.
Turkey’s Erdogan had in his address said that despite the UN resolutions “eight million people are stuck” in Kashmir.
(With inputs from IANS)