Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan Thursday telephoned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan as part of his efforts to de-escalate Indo-Pak tensions and underline the importance of dialogue and communication in resolving differences.
The Crown Prince, also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in a tweet said he talked to Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Khan. Tensions have escalated between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group.
India carried out air strikes against the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot.
Prime Minister Khan announced Thursday that Pakistan will free captured IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on Friday as a peace gesture, hours after a strong message from India demanding his unconditional release, largely de-escalating tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
"His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, held two phone calls on Thursday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, and Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan," his Twitter handle said.
Interestingly, his tweet came a day before the UAE hosts the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation meeting in Abu Dhabi on Friday. India has been invited for the first time to attend the Foreign Ministers' conclave in Abu Dhabi where External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will be the "guest of honour".
Pakistan, a member of the OIC, has conveyed its reservations over Swaraj's presence at the meeting. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir is also scheduled to visit Islamabad on Thursday "carrying an important message" from the Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, reports from Pakistan said.
Meanwhile, the official WAM Emirates News Agency, reporting on the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's talks with Prime Minister Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Khan said, "His Highness and the two Prime Ministers exchanged talks on recent developments in the India-Pakistan arena."
Sheikh Mohamed emphasised the importance behind dealing with these worrying developments, and working towards easing tensions between the two countries, prioritising dialogue and communication between the parties, it said.
The Abu Dhabi Crown Prince stressed the UAE's will to support positive relations between the two neighbouring countries, noting the common historical and cultural ties that bring them together, the report said.
"Sheikh Mohammed underscored the UAE's keenness on ensuring peace and stability in India-Pakistan ties, expressing his great confidence in the two countries' leadership prioritising peaceful dialogue in dealing with the developments that have occurred in the past few days," it added.