In what could be seen as a u-turn, the Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said his statements at the United Nations on the issue of Kashmir was not in anyone's favour. The Prime Minister sought to clarify his remarks which attracted sharp criticism from India with the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs reminding Malaysia of the “friendly” relations between the two countries. The Malaysian PM said the Malaysian “stand is not in anyone's favour and that he only “asked the two sides to negotiate” without using “force”. He added that his government's policy was not one of taking sides on the matter but to solve the problem amicably and also called for “negotiation and arbitration” to find a peaceful solution.
Addressing a press conference the Malaysian PM stated that his “approach” on the matter has not changed and he had informed Prime Minister Modi regarding the same when they met in Vladivostok, Russia. Suggesting that the row between India and Pakistan could have a legal way out, he advocated to “use the court of law” for resolving the long-standing rift.
On September 30 in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly, the Malaysian PM had accused India of “invading” Kashmir and also referred to the former state and now a union territory as a “country”. At the 74th UNGA he had 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.”
Soon after his statement the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, Raveesh Kumar had responded by reminding Malaysia of the region's history. "Pakistan invaded and illegally occupied parts of Jammu and Kashmir. The government of Malaysia should bear in mind the friendly relations between the two countries and desist from making such remarks...We deeply regret these comments since they are not based on facts.”
The PM's comment on Kashmir also triggered a social media campaign where netizens are calling to boycott Malaysia. Dr Mohamad responded to the anger of people on social media by saying that it would not impact the trade relations with the country and that Prime Minister Modi could “contact him” if he felt “uncomfortable” with his statement.