UAE brokering India-Pakistan talks to end diplomatic spat

UAE brokering India-Pakistan talks to end diplomatic spat
Emirati officials have been facilitating negotiations between Pakistan and India, officials say.
2 min read
22 March, 2021
The status of Muslim-majority Kashmir is a major point of contention [Getty]

The UAE has been in secret talks with Pakistani and Indian officials for months in an attempt to broker a "roadmap" to peace between the longtime rivals, officials told Bloomberg.

An announcement last month that Islamabad and New Delhi would jointly respect a 2003 ceasefire deal was the first step in that peace roadmap, officials aware of the situation who asked not to be identified told Bloomberg.

The next step in the fragile process will be the resinstatement of diplomatic envoys withdrawn in 2019, they said.

Officials said that while the peace talks aim at an eventual resolution to a decades-long dispute over Kashmir, expectations are low.

More likely is the resumption of cross-border trade, they said.

Ties between Pakistan and India broke down in 2019 after a suicide bombing near the border killing 40 Indian soldiers, prompting New Delhi to authorise airstrikes on Pakistan.

Tensions were compounded by India's revocation of the special autonomous status of Muslim-majority Kashmir.

There have been signs since last month's announcement that relations between the two countries are growing warmer.

Pakistan's army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa asked India "to bury the past and move forward" last week, as Prime Minister Imran Khan described Kashmir as "the one issue that holds us back".

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wished Khan well on Saturday after he was diagnosed with Covid-19.

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