The announcement of abidance to the 2003 border truce between India and Pakistan last month was brokered by the United Arab Emirates and is one of the steps proposed by the Gulf state to solve the Kashmir dispute between the two nuclear-armed South Asian rivals, a Bloomberg reported said on Monday.
It said about 24 hours after military chiefs from India and Pakistan issued a joint statement, the top diplomat of the United Arab Emirates popped over to New Delhi for a quick one-day visit.
The official UAE readout of the February 26 meeting between Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed only noted that he “discussed all regional and international issues of common interest and exchanged views on them” with Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar.
The Bloomberg report said yet behind closed doors, the India-Pakistan cease-fire marked a milestone in secret talks brokered by the UAE that began months earlier.
The cease-fire, the report said, is only the beginning of a larger roadmap to forge a lasting peace between the neighbours.
The next step in the process, the report said, involves both sides reinstating envoys in New Delhi and Islamabad, who were pulled in 2019 after Pakistan protested India’s move to end special status for Jammu and Kashmir.
Then comes the hard part: Talks on resuming trade and a lasting resolution on Kashmir, the subject of three wars since India and Pakistan became independent from Britain in 1947.
Officials said expectations were low that the current detente would achieve much beyond the return of envoys and a resumption of trade through their Punjab land border.
But this process appears to be the most concerted effort in years and comes as the Biden administration is seeking wider peace talks on Afghanistan – a place both countries for years have battled for influence.