Reliance-Saudi Aramco $75-bn deal a heartache for Pakistan

The billion-dollar deal between Reliance Industries Ltd and state-run Saudi Aramco on Monday came as a heartache to Pakistan which has been seeking the support of foreign powers, including Riyadh, over India’s historic move to change the status of Jammu and Kashmir.

The deal came just days after New Delhi decided to revoke Article 370 that accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistani Twitter users were quick to link the deal with the developments in Kashmir, with most calling out Saudi Arabia for getting into agreement with an Indian company.

“There is no brotherhood and No Religionism. Only Business Partners…!” one Pakistani wrote on Twitter.

“That’s pathetic! Brothers don’t backstab or join hands with the enemy. Shame on Saudi’s!” another said.

Forging a new investment venture with the Reliance Industries Ltd., Saudi Aramco will invest 75 billion US dollars in the conglomerate and have 20 per cent stake in its oil to chemicals (O2C) business.

“That’s a painful reality. Only if Saudi Arabia may just have given a hint to reconsider this investment to India in the backdrop her treatment to Muslims and Kashmir,” said a disgruntled Pakistani Twitter user.

“In case anyone was wondering about #Saudi silence on #Kashmir,” another user wrote.

“Special Friendship indeed,” he added.

Recalling when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan drove Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in his own limousine, the same Twitter user, added, “Driving the Prince from the airport not as cool as having a USD 75 billion company.”

“Delhi’s illegal actions in Kashmir”, the “brotherly” Saudis go ahead with the “largest investment - USD 75 billion - in Indian history,” taunted another Pakistani twitterer.

Tensions between India and Pakistan spiralled after the Indian Parliament on Tuesday passed a resolution to revoke Article 370 and a bill bifurcating Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

Rattled by New Delhi’s decisions, Islamabad “rejected” the move and said it will exercise “all possible options” to counter the steps.

Pakistan last week had also decided to downgrade bilateral ties with India and suspend all bilateral trade activities with the neighbouring country in the aftermath of the scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

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