There will be no India-Pakistan meeting in the UAE

The Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan are in Abu Dhabi, UAE on separate bilateral visit and engagements with the Emirati leadership. While Pakistan's foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi arrived on Saturday, External Affairs Minister of India S Jaishankar will land on Sunday.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi in a tweet said that the focus of the visit was "economic cooperation" and "community welfare" given the huge Indian diaspora there.

"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," he wrote in his tweet.

Speculation was rife over an India-Pakistan bilateral on the sidelines of the visit, but a possible meeting between Qureshi and Jaishankar was ruled out by Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan.

"No such meeting is scheduled during Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's ongoing visit to the UAE," he said.

Sources have confirmed to India Today TV that EAM Jaishankar's visit to the UAE on April 18 is a "purely bilateral one". "He will be discussing some pressing economic and community welfare issues, related to the Covid-19 situation," say sources.

The Indian minister's engagements are only with the UAE dignitaries.

Earlier, there have been reports of UAE facilitating backchannel talks between India and Pakistan. 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 knowledge of the matter told Reuters news agency.

It was confirmed a few days ago by the UAE envoy to Washington DC Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba in a virtual discussion with Stanford University's Hoover Institution on Wednesday said that the UAE played a role "in bringing Kashmir escalation down and creating a ceasefire, hopefully ultimately leading to restoring diplomats and getting the relationship back to a healthy level".

"They might not sort of become best friends but at least we want to get it to a level where it's functional, where it's operational, where they are speaking to each other," he said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi tweeted, "Good to be in the #UAE and to have met the Pakistan Business Council Dubai for a constructive session on #EconomicDiplomacy. The Pakistani community in the UAE continue to play a positive role across all echelons of business & work with great contributions to the devpt of ???? & ????"

Ties between India and Pakistan have been frosty since the Pulwama attack in 2019 which further deteriorated leading to both sides downgrading their respective missions in Islamabad and New Delhi by not having a High Commissioner in place.