india-pakistan_1_0Pakistan and India have begun to work on a four-step ‘roadmap for peace’ facilitated by the United Arab Emirates, according to report by Bloomberg on Monday. The report claimed the surprise joint statement announced by the Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of two countries on February 25, that agreed to end cross LoC ceasefire violations (CFVs), was the outcome of talks ‘brokered’ by the UAE months earlier and that the visit of UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed to New Delhi on February 26 also discussed progress in the India-Pakistan peace process with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. “The ceasefire is only the beginning of a larger roadmap to forge a lasting peace between the neighbors, both of which have nuclear weapons and spar regularly over a decades-old territory dispute,” according to one of the officials aware of the situation who asked not to be identified. The next step in the process, the official said, involves both sides reinstating envoys in New Delhi and Islamabad, who were pulled in 2019 after Pakistan protested India’s move to revoke seven decades of autonomy for the Jammu and Kashmir. Then comes the hard part: talks on resuming trade and a lasting resolution on Kashmir, the official added. Over the years, India and Pakistan have routinely made peace overtures only to have them quickly fall through. Officials said expectations were low that the current detente would achieve much beyond the return of envoys and a resumption of trade through their Punjab land border. But this process appears to be the most concerted effort in years, and comes as the Biden administration is seeking wider peace talks on Afghanistan – a place both countries for years have battled for influence. Last week, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa had asked India “to bury the past and move forward” while saying the military was ready to enter talks to resolve “all our outstanding issues.” The comments came a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan after called for a resolution on Kashmir, which he described as “the one issue that holds us back.” On Saturday, Modi sent a tweet wishing Khan well after he was diagnosed with Covid-19 – another sign that relations between the countries are getting warmer. The UAE, which has historic trade and diplomatic links with India and Pakistan, has taken a more assertive international role under de facto ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Several clues over the past few months pointed at the UAE’s role. In November, Jaishankar met bin Zayed and the crown prince on a two-day visit to Abu Dhabi, followed by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s the following month. Roughly two weeks before the Feb 25 announcement, the UAE foreign minister held a phone call with Prime Minister Imran Khan “wherein they discussed regional and international issues of interest.” And just days before, India allowed Khan’s aircraft to fly over Indian airspace as he headed to Sri Lanka for a state visit – a practice suspended since the 2019 hostilities.