• Monday, May 23, 2022

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Pakistan and Indian foreign ministers in crossover visits to UAE

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi (Photo by KAY NIETFELD/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Sarwar Alam

The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan made crossover visits to the United Arab Emirates this weekend, after it was revealed the Gulf nation has been mediating between the hostile neighbours.

“Good to be in the #UAE,” Pakistan’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi tweeted late Saturday, after announcing a three-day trip which ends Monday.

His Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar visited the emirate of Abu Dhabi on Sunday, a spokesman for New Delhi’s ministry of external affairs tweeted.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry said there was no scheduled meeting between the two ministers.

Islamabad suspended trade and diplomatic ties with India in 2019 after New Delhi revoked the special status of the part of divided Kashmir that it rules.

But in February, Islamabad and New Delhi pledged to end all firing along the disputed frontier, after months of violence between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE’s envoy to Washington, confirmed last week that the Gulf nation had played a role “in bringing the Kashmir escalation down and created a ceasefire, hopefully”.

“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… that’s our goal,” he added, in an online talk with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their acrimonious separation in 1947. The region has been a cause of two of their three wars since then.

A 2003 ceasefire has prevented another full-blown war from erupting but has largely failed to quell the skirmishes.

Further signs of rapprochement include an exchange of letters between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan, who have both called for peaceful relations.

Eastern Eye

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