India, Pakistan Each Issue Diplomatic Visas to Normalize Ties
File photo of Border Security Force personnel and Pakistan Rangers exchanging sweets at the India-Pakistan International Border on the occasion of Eid-Al-Adha, in Barmer, Rajasthan, July 21, 2021. (ANI photo)
NEW DELHI – Islamabad and New Delhi have issued assignment visas to each other’s diplomats after a gap of around 28 months as both sides are seeking to normalize ties that have been on ice since 2019.
Pakistan and India have issued a large number of assignment visas to each other’s diplomatic staff in recent weeks, the Express Tribune reported.
Both countries have issued visas on all applications submitted by March 15 this year.
Pakistan issued visas to 33 Indian officials, while seven Pakistani diplomats received assignment visas from India.
Sources said there was a possibility of an agreement between Pakistan and India to issue visas on assignment applications by June 15.
The two countries are likely to issue more visas to each other’s diplomats after that.
All countries issue assignment visas to diplomats and embassy staff from other countries.
In January this year, top intelligence officers from the two countries held secret talks in Dubai, reopening a back channel of diplomacy aimed at a modest roadmap to normalizing ties over the next several months, the report said.
Later in February, the two countries’ militaries announced an unexpected joint ceasefire.
The UAE’s envoy to Washington confirmed in April that the Gulf state was mediating between India and Pakistan to help the nuclear-armed rivals reach a “healthy and functional” relationship.
Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba said in a virtual discussion with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution that the UAE had played a role “in bringing Kashmir escalation down and created 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 added.
In March this year, Chief of Amy Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa called on India and Pakistan to “bury the past” and move towards cooperation.