The United Arab Emirates (UAE) claims it is playing the mediator in helping India and Pakistan re-forge bilateral ties and establish a “healthy functional relationship”.
“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,” UAE ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba said at a virtual discussion with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution on Wednesday (April 14).
“We try to be helpful, where we have influence with two different countries, so India-Pakistan was the most recent one,” he said.
Last month, India and Pakistan announced that they have mutually agreed to observe all agreements on ceasefire along the LOC in Jammu and Kashmir and other border areas.
When recently asked about reports on backdoor negotiations between India and Pakistan, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, however, gave a rather cryptic answer.
“If you talk about channels of communication on this issue, let me just recall that our respective high commissions exist and are functioning. So that is a very effective channel of communication,” Bagchi had said.
India is reported to have told Pakistan that it is ready to establish neighbourly relations with Islamabad, provided the latter offers an environment that is free of “terror, hostility and violence”.
Pakistan, too hasn’t exactly refuted reports of backchannel talks with India over re-forging of diplomatic ties.
“States have their ways and means to communicate which remain available even during wars. Therefore, whether any talks are taking place between and Pakistan is not important,” Pakistan’s foreign office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry.
He said even though talks are happening, the priority should be “how the dialogue could be made meaningful and result-oriented”.
Extending an olive branch to the estranged neighbour, Pakistan Army chief General Javed Bajwa last month had said that it was time for both the nations to forget about past differences and move forward as peaceful relations between the two countries would help them tap into the potential of South and Central Asia.
Relations between the two countries deteriorated following a terror attack at an Air Force base in Pathankot and subsequent attack in an Army camp in Uri in 2016.
It hit another low when IAF planes bombarded terror camps inside Pakistan on February 26, 2019 in response to the terror attack in Pulwama in which over 40 CRPF jawans were killed.
Pakistan suspended trade ties with India after the Centre abrogated Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and stripped it off its special status.