A United Arab Emirates (UAE) representative to US verified that confirmed the Arab state is mediating between India and Pakistan to help them reach a “healthy and functional” relationship.
It had been reported that both countries’ intelligence officials met in Dubai secretly in January in an effort to calm military tension over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, people with knowledge of the matter had told Reuters.
Officials from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s external spy agency, travelled to Dubai for a meeting facilitated by the United Arab Emirates government, said the sources.
The UAE 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 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,” he said.
Ties between India and Pakistan have been frozen since a suicide bombing of an Indian military convoy in occupied Kashmir in 2019 was blamed on Pakistan, leading to India sending warplanes to Pakistan.
India’s decision to withdraw Indian Occupied Kashmir’s autonomy by revoking the special status, provoked outrage in Pakistan and consequently downgraded 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 01 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 stabilise Afghanistan without Pakistan playing a helpful role,” he added.