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Tharoor bats for Nobel for UAE official after report on secret India-Pak talks
The talks could even focus on the Jammu and Kashmir, the main bone of contention between both nations.
India and Pakistan stunned the world on February 25 as the armies of both nations announced they had agreed to strictly observe the ceasefire agreement of 2003.
Ceasefire violations had increased significantly over the Line of Control in recent years with over 5,000 violations by Pakistan in 2020. The figure of 5,100 violations by Pakistan from January to December 2020 was the highest in 18 years and claimed 36 Indian lives and injured over 130.
On Monday, Bloomberg reported that the ceasefire announcement was the result of "secret talks brokered by the UAE that began months earlier". Quoting unnamed officials, Bloomberg reported "The ceasefire... is only the beginning of a larger roadmap to forge a lasting peace between the neighbors, both of which have nuclear weapons and spar regularly over a decades-old territory dispute."
The talks could even focus on the Jammu and Kashmir, the main bone of contention between both nations. "The next step in the process… involves both sides reinstating envoys in New Delhi and Islamabad, who were pulled in 2019 after Pakistan protested India’s move to revoke seven decades of autonomy for the disputed Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir. Then comes the hard part: Talks on resuming trade and a lasting resolution on Kashmir...," Bloomberg reported.
Not surprisingly, the Bloomberg report is expected to create ripples in Indian politics as New Delhi has always strictly espoused a 'no-third party intervention' approach in its ties with Pakistan.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted on Monday that UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan "will deserve a Nobel Peace Prize" if he pulled off a larger agreement between India and Pakistan. Tharoor tweeted, “If this is not just media speculation & my friend Sheikh @ABZayed pulls this off, he will deserve a Nobel Peace Prize.”
Bloomberg reported that officials were cautious on expectations from the UAE-brokered talks, which they expected would not achieve "much beyond the return of envoys and a resumption of trade through their Punjab land border".
However, "the process appears to be the most concerted effort in years, and comes as the Biden administration is seeking wider peace talks on Afghanistan—a place both countries for years have battled for influence...," Bloomberg reported.
"Several clues over the past few months pointed at the UAE’s role. In November, [External Affairs Minister S.] Jaishankar met bin Zayed (Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan) and the crown prince on a two-day visit to Abu Dhabi, followed by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi the following month. Roughly two weeks before the Feb. 25 announcement, the UAE foreign minister held a phone call with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan ‘wherein they discussed regional and international issues of interest’. And just days before, India allowed Khan’s aircraft to fly over Indian airspace as he headed to Sri Lanka for a state visit—a practice suspended since the 2019 hostilities."