Confirming for the first time an official involvement of the United Arab Emirates in the Indo-Pak backdoor negotiations, the Emirati envoy to the US revealed their role in bringing down the tension between India and Pakistan. “We wish to get their bilateral ties back to a healthy, functional relationship,” Emirati ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba said.
This comes on the back of reports on Thursday that officials of the intelligence agencies of India and Pakistan held secret talks in Dubai in January to calm tension over Jammu and Kashmir. Reuters hadstated that officials of India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had travelled to Dubai for the meeting that was facilitated by the government of the UAE. The two nations have since “agreed to dial down their rhetoric”.
Otaiba said at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution: “They might not sort of become best friends but at least we want to get it to a level where it’s functional, where it’s operational, where they are speaking to each other.”
India and Pakistan had, in a surprise announcement, said on February 25 that they have agreed to strictly observe all agreements on ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir and other sectors. Al-Otaiba himself brought up the issue while responding to a question, acknowledging his country’s role in “bringing Kashmir escalation down” between the two neighbours. India and Pakistan had issued a joint statement to strictly observe all agreements on ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and other sectors after hotline discussions by their Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMO). The decision by the two countries came into effect from the midnight of February 24/25.
Ties between India and Pakistan nose-dived after a terror attack on the Pathankot Air Force base in 2016 by terror groups based in the neighbouring country. Subsequent attacks, including one on Indian Army camp in Uri, further deteriorated the relationship. The relationship dipped further after India’s war planes pounded a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp deep inside Pakistan on February 26, 2019 in response to the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed.
The relations deteriorated after India announced withdrawing special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories in August, 2019. Last month, Pakistan’s powerful Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said that it was time for India and Pakistan to “bury the past and move forward as he asserted that the peace between the two neighbours would help to unlock the potential of South and Central Asia.
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