DUBAI (Reuters) – Pakistan’s foreign minister has welcomed mediation efforts by the United Arab Emirates between his country and India but told UAE newspaper Khaleej Times that he was not planning to meet his Indian counterpart in the country.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar are visiting the Gulf state at the same time.
“I am here for a bilateral visit. I am not here for a India-specific agenda,” Qureshi told the daily, which published a video excerpt of the interview.
“We welcome third party facilitation … But no matter what friends like the UAE say the initiative has to be indigenous,” he added.
A senior Emirati diplomat said last week that the UAE is mediating between India and Pakistan to help the nuclear-armed rivals reach a “healthy and functional” relationship after military tension over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
India’s foreign ministry spokesman had tweeted that Jaishankar’s discussions in the UAE would focus on economic cooperation and community welfare.
Ties between India and Pakistan have been frozen since a suicide bombing of an Indian military convoy in Kashmir in 2019 traced to Pakistan-based militants that led to India sending warplanes to Pakistan.
Later that year, India’s prime minister withdrew Indian-ruled Kashmir’s autonomy in order to tighten his grip over the territory, provoking outrage in Pakistan and the downgrading of diplomatic ties and suspension of bilateral trade.
(Reporting by Ghaida Ghantous in Dubai and Sanjeev Miglani in New Delhi; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)