Pakistan and India seem to be retreating from the brink of a war. A major sign in the context is the return of the ambassadors of the two countries to each other’s capital cities.
A statement from India’s External Affairs Ministry on Friday says that High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria, who was called back by New Delhi soon after the February 14 Pulwama attack, is returning to Islamabad on Saturday (yesterday).
And according to Pakistani officials, High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood was all set to resume his diplomatic duty in New Delhi the same day. With the two ambassadors now back to work in a revival of the diplomatic channel between governments in the two countries, there is a possibility that the military-to-military contact between the two sides will also be revived sometime soon.
The hotline contact between the directors general military operations i.e. the DGMOs of the two countries — who interact with each other once in a week — had gone dead after the Pulwama incident turned into a diplomatic crisis which snowballed into a military stand-off.
The apparent easing of Indo-Pak tension is a result of the hectic behind-the-scene efforts by major international players, especially the United States and China, both of whom have openly talked of the role they had played in bringing the tempers on the two sides down.
The US State Department had a few days back confirmed that telephone calls by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Indian and Pakistani leaders “played an essential role in de-escalating tensions between the two sides”. And yesterday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also confirmed Beijing’s “constructive” role in defusing tensions between the two nuclear neighbours.
The part played by Saudi Arabia is also evident by the daylong visit to Islamabad by Minister for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir. This backdoor diplomacy pretty clearly points towards the growing concern of the international community on the longstanding Kashmir dispute in the wake of the recent Indo-Pak stand-off.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2019.
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