According to a Bloomberg news report, the India-Pakistan ceasefire marked a turning point in months of secret negotiations brokered by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Bloomberg report said, the UAE has taken a more assertive international role under de facto ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, which has historic trade and diplomatic ties with India and Pakistan.
A top UAE diplomat flew to New Delhi for a swift one-day visit about 24 hours after military chiefs from India and Pakistan stunned the world last month with a rare joint pledge to respect a 2003 ceasefire agreement, according to the report.
The official UAE readout of the February 26 meeting gave few hints as to what Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed and Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar discussed. The report stated that they “discussed all regional and international topics of common interest and exchanged opinions on them.”
Officials told the newspaper that the ceasefire is just the start of a bigger plan to forge a lasting peace between the neighbours, who both have nuclear weapons and have been at odds for decades over a territorial dispute.
The next step, according to the authorities, is for both sides to re-establish envoys in New Delhi and Islamabad, who were removed in 2019.
Then comes the difficult part, negotiations on resuming trade and finding a long-term solution to Kashmir, which has been the subject of three wars since India’s independence, according to the Bloomberg report.
General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Pakistan’s army chief, asked India last week to “bury the past and move forward,” adding that the military was ready to engage in negotiations to resolve “all our outstanding problems.”
The remarks came a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan called for a resolution on Kashmir, which he described as “the one issue that holds us back”.
On March 20, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to wish his Pakistani counterpart well after the latter was diagnosed with Covid-19, another sign that relations between the nations are getting warmer.