Secret India Pakistan peace roadmap brokered by top UAE royals
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NEW DELHI: About 24 hours after army chiefs from India and Pakistan stunned the world final month with a uncommon joint dedication to respect a 2003 ceasefire settlement, the highest diplomat of the United Arab Emirates popped over to New Delhi for a fast one-day go to.
The official UAE readout of the February 26 assembly gave few clues of what overseas minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed spoke about with Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, noting they “discussed all regional and international issues of common interest and exchanged views on them.”
Yet behind closed doorways, the India-Pakistan ceasefire marked a milestone in secret talks brokered by the UAE that started months earlier, in line with officers conscious of the scenario who requested to not be recognized. The ceasefire, one stated, is barely the start of a bigger roadmap to forge an enduring peace between the neighbors, each of which have nuclear weapons and spar recurrently over a decades-old territory dispute.
The subsequent step within the course of, the official stated, entails each side reinstating envoys in New Delhi and Islamabad, who had been pulled in 2019 after Pakistan protested India’s transfer to revoke seven a long time of autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir. Then comes the exhausting half: Talks on resuming commerce and an enduring decision on Kashmir, the topic of three wars since India and Pakistan grew to become unbiased from Britain in 1947.
Over the years, India and Pakistan have routinely made peace overtures solely to have them shortly fall by way of, notably as each side continuously use the difficulty to fire up feelings round election time. Officials stated expectations had been low that the present detente would obtain a lot past the return of envoys and a resumption of commerce by way of their Punjab land border.
But this course of seems to be probably the most concerted effort in years, and comes because the Biden administration is searching for wider peace talks on Afghanistan — a spot each international locations for years have battled for affect. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to shore up progress and focus army sources on the border with China, whereas Pakistan’s leaders are additionally dealing with financial woes and seeking to make a very good impression with the US and different powers.
Last week Pakistan military chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa requested India “to bury the past and move forward” whereas saying the army was able to enter talks to resolve “all our outstanding issues.” The feedback got here a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan after known as for a decision on Kashmir, which he described as “the one issue that holds us back.”
The UAE, which has historic commerce and diplomatic hyperlinks with India and Pakistan, has taken a extra assertive worldwide position beneath de facto ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The greatest shift has been within the Middle East the place the Gulf Arab state has intervened in conflicts and backed teams and regional leaders. But it has additionally appeared to Asia because it strengthens political alliances past its position as a worldwide commerce and logistics hub.
India-Pakistan ties had been successfully lower off two years in the past after a terrorist assault in Kashmir killed 40 Indian troopers, prompting Modi’s authorities to authorize air strikes on alleged terror amenities inside Pakistan. The joint assertion final month stated the 2 sides “agreed to address each other’s core issues,” signaling a wider dialogue on Kashmir and terrorism.
Several clues over the previous few months pointed on the UAE’s position. In November, Jaishankar met bin Zayed and the crown prince on a two-day go to to Abu Dhabi, adopted by Pakistan overseas minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi the next month. Roughly two weeks earlier than the February 25 announcement, the UAE overseas minister held a telephone name with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan “wherein they discussed regional and international issues of interest.” And simply days earlier than, India allowed Khan’s plane to fly over Indian airspace as he headed to Sri Lanka for a state go to — a apply suspended for the reason that 2019 hostilities.
After the ceasefire, the UAE was one among a handful of nations to difficulty a press release welcoming the ceasefire announcement, highlighting the “close historical ties” it has with each India and Pakistan and hailing “the efforts made by both countries to come to this agreement.” In Washington, State Department spokesman Ned Price dodged a query on what position the US performed in bringing the 2 sides collectively whereas urging Pakistan to play a constructive position in Afghanistan, Kashmir and different locations.
“Obviously Pakistan has an important role to play when it comes to Afghanistan and what takes place across its other border,” Price stated on February 25. “So clearly, we will be paying close attention.”

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