India, Pakistan held secret talks on Kashmir in January: Reuters

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Secret talks between the top intelligence officials of India and Pakistan were held in Dubai in January to resolve the Kashmir issue.

According to Reuters, a Delhi source with close knowledge of India-Pakistan affairs told him that a secret meeting between the two countries was held in Dubai in January with the participation of top intelligence officials of the two countries.

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Relations between the nuclear-armed countries have been strained since 2019, when an attack on an military convoy in Kashmir killed 40 Indian soldiers. India blamed Pakistani-backed terrorists for the attacks and retaliated by targeting Pakistani territory with its warplanes.

On August 5, 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked the special constitutional status of Kashmir with the aim of strengthening the grip on Kashmir. In response to this move, Pakistan reduced the level of diplomatic relations with India and suspended trade relations.

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The governments of the two countries, however, have launched back-channel diplomacy over the past several months and are trying to normalize relations. Pakistan had allowed an Indian passenger plane to make an emergency landing here, while India had allowed Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to cross Indian airspace to visit Sri Lanka. In addition, a Pakistani javelin team visited India last month.

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According to Reuters, two sources with knowledge of back-channel diplomacy between the two countries said that the talks, held in Dubai in January with the cooperation of the United Arab Emirates, included the Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Pakistan’s inter Services Intelligence (ISI) officials participated.

“There have been similar meetings between the two countries in the past, especially during the crisis, but these meetings have never been publicly acknowledged”.

A source in Delhi who confirmed the meeting said, “There is still a lot that can go wrong. It has happened many times, so no one is talking about it in public.” We can’t even name it. This is not a peace effort. You could call it a reunion. “

There are also reasons for the two countries to restore bilateral relations. India has been embroiled in a border dispute with China since last year and does not want to open a new military front with Pakistan.

On the other hand, China’s ally Pakistan is mired in economic difficulties and is dependent on the IMF bailout package to get out of financial difficulties. In such a scenario, the question is whether he will be able to withstand the long-term tension on the Kashmir border while he also wants to keep his western border stable after the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

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it was only after the Dubai meeting in January that India and Pakistan declared a ceasefire on the Line of Control in Kashmir, which is still being implemented.

The two countries have also announced to hold elections in their respective administrations of Kashmir this year to normalize the situation in the region, which has been suffering from decades of bloodshed.

According to sources speaking to Reuters, the two countries have also agreed to reduce traditional rhetoric.

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Under this, Pakistan will remove its objection to the change in the constitutional status of Kashmir in August 2019, while India will refrain from blaming Pakistan for the violence in Kashmir.

These details have not been revealed before. India blames Pakistan for the insurgency in Kashmir but Pakistan denies the allegation.

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A source who spoke to Reuters said: “Both countries are aware of the fact that there could be attacks in Kashmir from within and there has been talk of how to deal with them and any such attack. Don’t let it get in the way. “

Sources told Reuters that although no plan has been put forward to resolve the 74-year-old Kashmir issue, the two countries are trying to reduce tensions to restore ties.

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