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Pakistan-India thaw: diplomatic visas reinstated

Islamabad and New Delhi have taken the first step towards normalisation. Both countries have reissued visas for each other's diplomatic personnel.

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After a gap of around 28 months, Pakistan and India have reinstated the assignment of diplomatic visasas. Pakistan’s ties with India were on the lowest trajectory since 2019 when a suicide bombing of a military convoy in Indian illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) led to India sending warplanes to Pakistan.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi responded to it by withdrawing IIOJK’s semi-autonomous status. This provoked intense outrage in Pakistan and the downgrading of diplomatic ties with the suspension of bilateral trade.

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Both countries have issued visas on all applications submitted by March 15 this year and a large number of these were assigned to their diplomatic staff. 33 Indian officials received visas from Pakistan.

Both countries are likely to issue more visas to each other’s diplomats. A backchannel talk convened in Dubai this year in January between Islamabad and New Delhi in an attempt to normalise relations. This was exemplified through a joint cease-fire announced by both countries in February.

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This mediation was led by UAE, who confirmed in April that it’s catering to the negotiating process between the two nuclear powers. Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba said in a virtual discussion with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution that “They might not sort of becoming 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.”

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