Islamabad on Sunday for the first time publicly acknowledged the efforts being made by the United Arab Emirates to bring India and Pakistan back on the table of negotiation, although New Delhi refrained from confirming it officially.
The visit of External Affair Minister S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi to the United Arab Emirates around the same time lent credence to speculation over the behind-the-scenes role Abu Dhabi has been playing to bring the two South Asian nations back on the negotiation table.
Jaishankar reached Abu Dhabi on Sunday – just a day after Qureshi flew from Islamabad to Dubai to embark on a three-day visit to the UAE.
“(The) UAE has sizable number of Pakistanis and the presence of Indians is even higher,” Qureshi told the Gulf News in an interview on Sunday. “Obviously, looking at the interest of peace and stability in the region, it only makes sense that the UAE feels that two players (Indian and Pakistan) in this region, who are estranged, should sit together and talk out their differences.”
New Delhi so far refrained from making any official statement to confirm or deny the reports about the UAE’s behind-the-scenes efforts to make India and Pakistan restart bilateral dialogue, which remained suspended since 2013.
Qureshi told Gulf News that Pakistan had always welcomed third party mediation to help settle its disputes with India – be it by the UAE or any other nation. He, however, denied reports about his possible meeting with Jaishankar, reported the newspaper, which is published from Dubai.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in 2019 and 2020 repeatedly turned down offers made by the then United States President Donald Trump to mediate between India and Pakistan.