Indian external affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi were announced to visit the United Arab Emirates during the weekend. Though the two ministers were speculated to meet and discuss over India-Pak ties, now all the speculations regarding the same have been denied as both countries said that no meeting was planned between the two leaders.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi announced his three-day visit to UAE on 17 April, hours after MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi announced on Twitter that Jaishankar would visit Abu Dhabi on April 18 at the invitation of his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The announcement triggered speculation about a meeting between Jaishankar and Qureshi. This meeting was speculated in the wake of the acknowledgement by a senior Emirati diplomat of the UAE’s role in facilitating secret talks between India and Pakistan. He also said, “They (India and Pakistan) might not sort of becoming best friends but at least we want to get it to a level where it is functional, where it is operational, where they are speaking to each other.”

A person familiar with developments, however, said Jaishankar’s visit is “purely bilateral” and his engagements are “only with UAE dignitaries”. “He will be discussing some pressing economic and community welfare issues related to COVID-19.” In Islamabad, Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said, “No such meeting is scheduled during foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s ongoing visit to the UAE.” “I am here for a bilateral visit. I am not here for an India-specific agenda,” said Qureshi in a media interview.