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UAE role may open way forward for India, Pakistan on Kashmir

18/04/2021 at 12:08 PM

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

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