Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who had raised the Kashmir issue at the UN General Assembly last month, said that he stood by his remarks on Kashmir, reports The Hindu.
Mahathir had said, India had “invaded and occupied Jammu and Kashmir” and asked New Delhi to work with Pakistan to resolve the issue. This statement by the Malaysian PM, received strong reaction from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
However a defiant Malaysian PM on Tuesday (22 October) said, it is important to be assertive and one must speak their mind, and he will not retract and change, days after India expressed regret over his statement.
Malaysian PM said, “We speak our minds. We do not retract and change.” But he acknowledged the comment has strained relations between Malaysia and India and said, “We have to speak up for people. So, sometimes what we say is liked by some and disliked by others.”
However, he previously had refused to speak up on the oppression of Uyghur Muslim community in China, saying Muslim countries are silent about the persecution of Uyghurs "because China is a very powerful nation", according to a report by Malaysiakini.
Earlier this month, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said India and Malaysia had traditionally enjoyed good and friendly ties. He said, “We deeply regret these comments since they are not based on facts.”
It should be noted that Malaysia, Turkey and China are the only nations to have supported Pakistan in its anti-India stance on the Kashmir issue at the recently culminated 74th session of the UNGA in New York.
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