UAE's envoy to the USA, Yousef Al Otaiba, recently confirmed his country’s role in brokering talks between India and Pakistan to achieve a "healthy and functional" relationship, The Indian Express reported.
This is the first official confirmation that has come from the country regarding its role in mediating between the two countries.
Responding to a question from the former US National Security Advisor HR McMaster on whether the UAE was helping India and Pakistan to arrive at a better conversation with Mr Otaiba, who is one of the most senior diplomats in UAE reportedly said,
"“Absolutely. They 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, where there’s lines of communication and that’s our goal.”"
Political ties and trading relations between the two countries have been rocky since the Pulwama attack of 2016 that was immediately followed by the Balakot air strikes. This confirmation comes just as the two countries made surprising announcements to renew the ceasefire pact in February to ease tensions at the Jammu & Kashmir border.
Reports suggest that back-channel meetings between the two countries have been going on since the past few months leading up to the February announcements.
A report on Reuters has also said that top intelligence officials from R&AW and Pakistan's ISI held secret meetings in Dubai earlier in January, in a bid to ease tensions at the Kashmir border. Recently in March, amid the chill in the countries’ ties, Prime Minister Modi and Pakistan PM Imran Khan also exchanged greetings on latter’s National Day.
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