Saudi Arabia using Pak’s ‘nemesis’ India to shake up links with terror: Report

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Washington – Saudi Arabia has been deepening its cooperation with India in cracking down on terrorism, but is also using the nation to balanceits bilateral relationship with Pakistan.

Pakistan is Saudi Arabia’s traditional ally in South Asia, as firstly both nations are Islamic countries with majority Sunni populations, and the latter having fueled the construction of many hard-line religious schools in Pakistan that have helped foster Islamist militancy.

But the Middle East nation is trying to maintain close ties with India, Pakistan’s nemesis in the region, the Wall Street Journal reports.

According to the paper, there are many theories for why Saudi is cooperating more closely with India.

Some observers view Saudi policy as driven by worries about the inability of Pakistan to control its militant proxies. Those anxieties have heightened in recent years as militants have increasingly attacked Pakistani government and militarytargets, the paper said.

“There’s a genuine concern in the Saudi establishment that things may get out of hand,” said Naresh Chandra, chairman of India’s National Security Advisory Board.

According to Talat Masood, a retired Pakistan army general, Saudi Arabia, once itself a source of funds for Pakistan-based militant groups, now views its closer relationship with India as a way of forcing Pakistan to moderate its support for these groups, the paper said.

“The Saudi relationship is no longer a monopoly of Pakistan,” Masood said.

Some analysts also claim that Riyadh’s ties with India offer another way to balance the influence of Iran, a Shiite power that has historically rivaled Saudi for influence in the Middle East and South Asia, the paper added.

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