Top intelligence officers from India and Pakistan held secret talks in Dubai in January in a new effort to calm military tension over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, people with close knowledge of the matter told Reuters in Delhi.
Officials from India and Pakistan traveled to Dubai for a meeting facilitated by the United Arab Emirates government, Reuters claimed in a story released on Wednesday. “The Indian foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment. Pakistan’s military also did not respond,” Reuters reported.
Both sides have also signalled plans to hold elections on their sides of Kashmir this year as part of efforts to bring normalcy to a region riven by decades of bloodshed. The two have also agreed to dial down their rhetoric, the people Reuters spoke to said.
Reuters claimed that Pakistan and India have decided that Pakistan would drop its loud objections to Modi abrogating Kashmir’s autonomy in August 2019, while Delhi in turn would refrain from blaming Pakistan for all violence on its side of the Line of Control.
“There is a lot that can still go wrong, it is fraught,” said one of the people in Delhi. “That is why nobody is talking it up in public, we don’t even have a name for this, it’s not a peace process. You can call it a re-engagement,” one of them said.
“I don’t see it going very far beyond a basic management of tensions, possibly to tide both countries over a difficult period,” said Myra MacDonald, a former Reuters journalist who has just published a book on India, Pakistan and war on the frontiers of Kashmir. “Pakistan needs to address the fall-out of the US. withdrawal from Afghanistan, while India has to confront a far more volatile situation on its disputed frontier with China.”