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An Unexpected Development

A recent report has revealed that the UAE brokered a Secret Peace Plan in an attempt to normalise ties between India and Pakistan. In the last week of February 2021, the Army Chiefs of the two South Asian Nations had surprised the Global Community by announcing that they would abide by the 2003 (Bilateral) Ceasefire Agreement. The report, published by a Media House based in West Asia, has claimed that the two Arch Rivals agreed to follow Ceasefire Agreement after the UAE’s successful mediation!

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Foreign Minister of the UAE, arrived in New Delhi on February 26 on a one-day surprise visit. The Report claimed that the visiting Minister discussed various aspects of Indo-Pak relations with Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. However, the Foreign Ministry of the UAE had issued a statement, saying that the two Ministers discussed bilateral, regional and global issues, having shared interests. Now, experts are of the opinion that the UAE is certainly interested in normalising ties between India and Pakistan. Hence, the Foreign Ministry of the UAE mentioned “shared interests” in the statement.

Sheikh Zayed (L) with his Indian counterpart Dr Jaishankar

Interestingly, the fact had not been acknowledged by India, Pakistan or the UAE in February! After publication of the Report, a senior UAE official (on condition of anonymity) has stressed that the 2003 Ceasefire Agreement (between India and Pakistan) is only the first step towards establishing long-lasting peace in the Indian Subcontinent. It may be noted that both the countries had withdrawn their respective envoys, following a spike in tension in the aftermath of the terror attack in Pulwama (India) and the Indian military action in Balakot (Pakistan) in response in February 2019.

On March 5, 2021, India took a step towards de-escalation of tension with Pakistan, announcing that the Indian envoy would return to Islamabad on March 6. “High Commissioner of India to Pakistan, Ajay Bisaria, is returning to Islamabad after having completed his consultations in India. He will reach Islamabad on March 9, and resume his duties,” stated Raveesh Kumar, the Official Spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. He made the announcement just a day after Pakistan declared that Prime Minister Imran Khan would send High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood back to New Delhi on March 6. The UAE immediately welcomed the decision of India and Pakistan, stating that both New Delhi and Islamabad should make serious efforts to establish long-lasting peace in the region.

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