By Arun Joshi
The UAE is making it known that it had facilitated India-Pakistan talks in easing tensions on Kashmir . It has taken credit for reinvocation of ceasefire at the Line of Control that serves as a de-facto border between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir and hoping to bring betterment in the diplomatic relations between the two countries.
On the world map , the UAE is a small country as compared to other countries , bigger in size , resources and even influence in the world. The United Arab Emirates quest for peace and resolving the conflict between India and Pakistan is because of what can be said safely is because it is having good ties with both the countries . That fits into its urge to keep the region safe from the disasters that may strike if the conflicts continued to fester.
The UAE ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba did not leave anything to imagination about his country’s continuous efforts to ensure that India and Pakistan sit together to resolve their issues so that even if they don’t become best of friends at least they have healthy relationship.. These are noble intentions. Some sceptics see something more behind this diplomatic pursuit. They could be surprised at the giant role being played by a small country, forgetting that small country like Norway had played similar roles in bringing the adversaries to the table. Oslo accords though did not succeed the way these were intended to , but these had changed the attitudes of Israel and Palestinians toward each other to some extent . The world view too had changed a lot. Given the hostilities between the two sides , it was not a mean achievement .
The recall of the situation between India and Pakistan before the ceasefire agreement was reconfirmed by the two countries in February 2021 was quite scary . The world was worried about the two sides courting misadventure and triggering nuclear clash. The US intelligence reports about global trends and threats have straightway pointed out that the two countries could go in for a full-scale war or India , if attacked by Pakistan terrorists, could use force against Pakistan.
Against this backdrop , the trigger could have come from anything , big or small . The template for this was shaped by the Pulwama terror attack of February 2019 that provoked India into launching aerial surgical strikes at the Jaish-e-Mohammad terror training camp in Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan . The self-defense action by Pakistan and subsequent capture of Indian Air Force’s Wing Commander Abhinandan had brought the two countries to brink of war .
Travelling from that situation of high tensions that could have caused a devastating situation in the region about which the world did not hesitate to express its worries , to the current phase of calm on borders is a big milestone .
The most worrying part was when Pakistan raised the pitch and organized massive rallies against the Indian Government’s decision to scrap special status of Jammu and Kashmir and division of this Himalayan state into two union territories . It did not stop there . It declared that it won’t talk to India unless India reverses these decisions . Despite that the ceasefire agreement was reaffirmed and calm stands restored on the LoC. This should be counted as a big thaw in the relationship of the two countries .
Ambassador Otaiba made certain things very clear as to why the UAE is involved in the process to de-escalate tensions between India and Pakistan . Its attempt is that , “ India and Pakistan 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.”
The importance of these words and meaning lies in the fact that the UAE ambassador was speaking in a discussion with the former NSA of the US Lt. Gen ( retired) H R McMaster at the prestigious Hoover Institution in the United States . The soil was that of America and there could be two messages – either Otaiba was speaking all this to tell the US that what role the US could have played is being played by the UAE or there is some kind of synergy between Washington and UAE and both are complimenting each other in pursuing the common goal . The other goals that should follow the ceasefire , he hoped, would ultimately lead to “ restoring diplomats and getting the relationship back to healthy level.”
UAE enjoys very good relations with both India and Pakistan . It wants to utilise its good offices to get the two countries to work in a peaceful atmosphere. This would help the Islamic world to acquit itself Pakistani charges of not standing by it against the August 5, 2019, decisions , and at the same time tell the two countries that they need friends nor controversies that could derail their development especially in the times of Corona pandemic.
About the Author:
Arun Joshi is a senior journalist based in J&K. He has worked with Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express and The Tribune.
He has authored “ Eyewitness Kashmir: Teetering on Nuclear War” and three other books.
This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with the www.prameyanews.com