Top intelligence brass from India and Pakistan held secret talks in Dubai in January to ease military tension over Kashmir, people with close knowledge of the matter told Reuters in Delhi.
Officials from India’s Research and Analysis Wing, the external spy agency, and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence travelled to Dubai for a meeting facilitated by the United Arab Emirates government, two people said. Neither India nor Pakistan has responded about it.
Ties between India and Pakistan, the two nuclear-armed rivals have remained contentious since a suicide bombing of an Indian military convoy in Kashmir in 2019. But the two governments have reconsidered a back channel of diplomacy aimed at a modest roadmap to normalising ties over the next several months, the people said.
Ayesha Siddiqa, a top Pakistani defence analyst, said she believed Indian and Pakistani intelligence officials had been meeting for several months in third countries. “I think there have been meetings in London between Thailand, in Dubai, in London between the highest-level people,” she said.
“It’s better for India and Pakistan to talk than not talk, and even better that it should be done quietly than in a glare of publicity,” said Myra MacDonald, a former Reuters journalist who has just published a book on India, Pakistan, and the war on the frontiers of Kashmir.