The Indian media has started rumors of backchannel negotiations between India and Pakistan, as both nuclear-armed neighbors’ foreign ministers will be in the UAE today (Sunday).
On Saturday, Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi arrived in the UAE and will meet with his counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and other UAE dignitaries.
S Jaishankar, India’s External Affairs Minister, will also arrive in the UAE today to hold talks with the UAE government on a variety of matters, including economic cooperation.
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister, has welcomed Jaishankar to Abu Dhabi.
Arindam Bagchi, India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson shared a tweet on Saturday that read, “at the invitation of his counterpart, EAM @DrSJaishankar will be visiting Abu Dhabi on 18th April 2021. His discussions will focus on economic cooperation and community welfare.”
Since both India’s and Pakistan’s foreign ministers will be in the same country for the next few days, the Indian media couldn’t help but speculate on backchannel talks between the two countries to reduce tensions.
The speculation surfaced following the acknowledgment by the UAE’s ambassador to Washington that the Gulf state is mediating to achieve a “positive and working” partnership between India and Pakistan.
“The Ministry of External Affairs has announced that External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will visit Abu Dhabi on Sunday. The visit comes amid claims that the UAE has been stalling back channel talks to reopen dialogue between India and Pakistan “The Hindu, a well-known Indian news website, reported on the situation.
“However, the fact that the Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers will be in the same position at the same time will draw notice,” wrote The Times of India.
However, Pakistan has refuted Indian reports of any meeting taking place between two countries.
In response to a question about whether the two had planned a bilateral meeting, FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri stated:
“No such meeting is scheduled during Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s ongoing visit to the UAE.”