ISLAMABAD: The Indian media has reported that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been holding back-channel talks to restart dialogue between India and Pakistan.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi arrived in the UAE on Saturday on a three-day visit.
The Foreign Minister will meet his counterpart, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and other UAE dignitaries during the visit.
Qureshi will hold consultations with the UAE’s leadership on all areas of bilateral cooperation including collaboration in trade and investment, job opportunities for the Pakistani workforce and the welfare of the Pakistani diaspora. He will also discuss regional and global issues of mutual interest.
Meanwhile, Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar will visit Abu Dhabi on Sunday (today).
“At the invitation of his counterpart, Mr. Jaishankar will be visiting Abu Dhabi on Sunday. His discussions will focus on economic cooperation and community welfare,” said the Indian Foreign office.
As both foreign ministers of India and Pakistan will be in the same country for the next couple of days.
Earlier, United Arab Emirates’ envoy to Washington Yousef Al Otaiba confirmed the Gulf state is mediating between India and Pakistan to help the nuclear-armed rivals reach a “healthy and functional” relationship.
According to the details, Top intelligence officers from both sides held secret talks in Dubai in January in a new effort to calm military tension over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, people with knowledge of the matter had told Reuters.
Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba said in a virtual discussion with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution on Wednesday that the UAE played a role “in bringing Kashmir escalation down and created a ceasefire, hopefully ultimately leading to restoring diplomats and getting the relationship back to a healthy level.”
“They might not sort of becoming 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,” he said.
Ties between India and Pakistan have been frozen since a suicide bombing of an Indian military convoy in Kashmir in 2019 traced to Pakistan-based militants that led to India sending warplanes to Pakistan.
Later that year, India’s prime minister withdrew Indian-ruled Kashmir’s autonomy to tighten his grip over the territory, provoking outrage in Pakistan and the downgrading of diplomatic ties and suspension of bilateral trade.
Otaiba also said that Pakistan should play a helpful role in Afghanistan, where the United States plans to start withdrawing US troops on May 1 to end America’s longest war.
The Emirati official voiced concern that an abrupt US withdrawal would constitute “reverse progress” by serving the interests of “the more illiberal forces” in Afghanistan.
“The question is if the three parties (the US, Taliban and Afghan government) can reach an agreement that they can all live with,” Otaiba said.
“It’s hard for us to see a way to stabilize Afghanistan without Pakistan playing a helpful role,” he added.
Turkey is due to host a peace summit for Afghanistan from April 24 to May 4 meant to jump-start efforts to end the war and sketch out a possible political settlement