• UAE Foreign Minister visited India a day after the ceasefire  
  • Talks on resuming trade and resolving Kashmir part of roadmap
  • UAE welcomed the ceasefire announcement 

Nuclear rivals India and Pakistan are working on a "roadmap" to peace in the volatile South Asian region, thanks to a peace deal brokered by the United Arab Emirates, Bloomberg Quint reported.

The militaries of both countries announced a ceasefire along the effective border in Jammu and Kashmir on Feb. 25, a day ahead of a one-day visit by UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed to India.

Though a UAE readout vaguely mentioned the leaders “discussed all regional and international issues of common interest," the sudden decision by both countries to the ceasefire is said to be the fruit of months of secret talks brokered by the Gulf nation. The ceasefire "is only the beginning of a larger roadmap to forge a lasting peace between the neighbors," an unnamed source told Bloomberg Quint.

The next in the process will be reinstating envoys in New Delhi and Islamabad, who were pulled in 2019 after India revoked the special status of the Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since they gained independence from Britain in 1947. Both nations came dangerously close to another war in 2019 when New Delhi authorized airstrikes on Pakistan after a suicide bomber killed 40 Indian soldiers.

Though India and Pakistan announced a ceasefire along the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir in 2003, it was violated with alarming frequency.

Talks on resuming trade and a lasting resolution on Kashmir - dubbed the hardest part of the deal - are a part of the roadmap, the report said.

New Delhi is also likely to respond positively to U.S. President Joe Biden's proposal for wider peace talks with Afghanistan, considering its growing stakes in Afghanistan.

India's foreign minister S Jaishankar met Abdullah bin Zayed in November on a two-day visit to Abu Dhabi. This meeting was followed by a visit by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi a month later.

Two weeks before the ceasefire announcement, bin Zayed had held a phone call with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. And just days before, India allowed Khan’s aircraft to fly over Indian airspace as he headed for Sri Lanka, a first since the 2019 dispute. The UAE had also issued a statement welcoming the ceasefire.

However, both countries have not responded to the role of the UAE.

The relationship between India and Pakistan had been thawing for the past several days. Last week, Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa asked India “to bury the past and move forward” while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a tweet wishing Khan well after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Khan had also said that the entire region would benefit “if India makes a move, if the Kashmir issue is resolved.”

India-Pakistan Border
Representational image REUTERS