We played important role in reducing Indo-Pak tensions: UAE envoy
New Delhi, Mar 18: The UAE played an important role in reducing the recent tensions between India and Pakistan by giving "words of wisdom" on sorting out differences in a peaceful manner, the Gulf nation's ambassador here said on Monday.
Ambassador Ahmed Al Banna, however, clarified that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) did not mediate between the two countries and that the aim of its efforts was to decrease the tensions which had spiralled in the wake of the air strike by Indian jets at a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Balakot, Pakistan, following the Pulwama terror attack.
The UAE envoy, while speaking at an interaction at IIT-Delhi, also referred to Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and deputy commander of the armed forces Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan's telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan amid escalating tensions.
"We played an important role in reducing the (Indo-Pak) tensions that took place. On the day there was a huge escalation, there was a phone call from our Abu Dhabi Crown Prime to Prime Minister Modi and to the Pakistan Prime Minister," he said in response to a question on the role played by the UAE in de-escalating Indo-Pak tensions.
"Our role was to give words of wisdom and try to sort out the differences in a peaceful manner just like the UAE has done in its relationship with Iran," he said.
On whether the UAE had successfully mediated in reducing Indo-Pak tensions, Al Banna said: "We did not mediate. When you talk about mediation there has to be a request from both parties. We tried to decrease tensions by using our special relationship (with the two countries)."
Asked about India's action to strike the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Balakot, Al Banna said what India or any country decides in terms of its policy, the UAE does not interfere.
"In general, we are against radicalism, we are against terrorists, we are against terrorism. A lot of people talk about definitions, but for us a terrorist act is a terrorist act. A lot of time we interact with Indian authorities and make suggestions and it is up to the Indian side to take it or not," he said.
To another question on India's presence at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Foreign Ministers meet in Abu Dhabi earlier this month, he welcomed New Delhi's participation.
Asked about Kashmir being raised by the Islamic grouping, the envoy stressed that the declaration made in Abu Dhabi at the OIC meeting made no mention of the "Kashmir problem".
The UAE envoy also said that there was strong cooperation between India and his country on counter terrorism.
"We would like to enhance counter-terror cooperation. We want to stop this nonsense of killing innocent people...Islam has been hijacked by some of those terrorists and they have hijacked the actual purity of Islam," Al Banna said.
Asked if the UAE had given any message to Pakistan on terror sanctuaries, Al Banna said: "Without mentioning any specific person, name or country, the UAE has a long standing (position of) preventing, fighting act of terrorism and those radical organisations, so we work with all partners in the region to make our region a peaceful region."
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after Indian Air Force fighter jets bombed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed's biggest training camp near Balakot deep inside Pakistan on February 26.
Pakistan retaliated by attempting to target Indian military installations the next day. However, the IAF thwarted their plans.
The Indian strike on the JeM camp came 12 days after the terror outfit claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama in which 40 soldiers were killed.
In his address, the envoy said it was the UAE and Saudi Arabia that covered the shortage of oil for India after Iran sanctions.