The United Arab Emirates (UAE), one of the closest allies of Pakistan, has recently recognized Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir as part of India in a G20 Summit video.
The video, displayed at the G20 Summit held in New Delhi, was also shared by the UAE’s Deputy Prime Minister, Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on X, formerly Twitter.
في شرق الارض وغربها وين ما حل
حل السلام و جاوبته القيادات
الارض ظللها مدى حكمته ظل
لين انطوى الراي لزعيم الامارات
"شكراً شكراً شكراً.. لا أعتقد أننا سنكون هنا لولاك"
ما قاله الرئيس الأمريكي لسيدي صاحب السمو الشيخ محمد بن زايد، أثناء الاعلان عن مشروعات الممر الاقتصادي لربط الهند… pic.twitter.com/OwZkPjQtSs
— سيف بن زايد آل نهيان (@SaifBZayed) September 9, 2023
The video recognized Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir, which are under Pakistan’s administrative control, as a central part of the Indian map.
The video was supposed to display regional plans to connect India with the Middle East and Europe through economic corridor projects. However, it also exposed UAE’s diplomatic intentions on Pakistan’s stance regarding the Kashmir issue.
By showing these regions within India’s borders, UAE essentially gave a nod of approval to India’s claim over the region.
While the video’s release hints at a strengthening relationship between India and UAE, it also shows the increasing distance between Pakistan and the Middle East, including UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia’s Prime Minister and Crown Prince, Mohammad Bin Salman, canceled his official visit to Pakistan before attending the G20 summit in India, which sent a strong message to Pakistan’s power circles.
On the other hand, India, the Middle East, and Europe have come together to sign an agreement led by the US, which sets the foundation for their new economic pathway. The route is expected to boost business and connectivity across Asia, the Arabian Gulf, and Europe.
It is noteworthy that Pakistan also expects a $50 billion investment from Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the next five years, with each country injecting $25 billion. It remains to be seen how Pakistan will react to this development in the near future keeping in view the statement it has released about the issue without naming UAE.
Pakistan Foreign Office’s Response
On 14 September, during a weekly press briefing, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, issued a statement on the UAE’s move to include the entire Kashmir region in India.
Without naming UAE, the statement read, “Pakistan sees the United Nations as the most representative and inclusive forum of nation-states,” adding, “Any map, showing the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir as part of India, is legally tenable and factually incorrect.”
— Spokesperson 🇵🇰 MoFA (@ForeignOfficePk) September 14, 2023
Although the spokesperson objected to the incorrect map presented by the UAE, she acknowledged that the connectivity projects are essential for regional peace and prosperity.
The Kashmir Issue
According to the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations website, the Kashmir dispute is a long-standing conflict between India and Pakistan over the status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Below is Pakistan’s official political map, showing all regions that are part of the country.
India occupied the state based on a controversial instrument of accession signed by the Maharaja of Kashmir in 1947, but Pakistan and the people of Kashmir rejected this claim. The United Nations (UN) recognizes Kashmir as a disputed territory, and all countries except India do the same.