Saudi Arabia can be a 'valuable interlocutor' between India and Pakistan, Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor said on Sunday and subsequently clarified that he did not mean that Riyadh should be a mediator.
"We feel that Saudi Arabia of course has a long and close relationship with Pakistan but that makes Saudi Arabia even a more valuable interlocutor for us," Tharoor, who is accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a three-day visit to the kingdom, said.
"When we tell them about our experience, Saudi Arabia listens as somebody who is not in anyway an enemy of Pakistan but rather is a friend of Pakistan and therefore I am sure will listen with sympathy and concern to a matter of this nature," he said when asked what kind of cooperation did he expect from Riyadh considering its close relations with Islamabad.
Shortly after making the remarks, the minister -- who earlier also hit headlines for his controversial statements on social networking site Twitter on the government's austerity measures and immigration policy -- retracted them.
"No chance of my saying Saudi Arabia should be a mediator... Never said that or anything like it," Tharoor said.