US urges India, Pakistan to ‘exercise restraint’

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to reporters at the UN headquarters in New York, July 20, 2018. Pompeo said on Friday that U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin began discussing the return of millions of Syrian refugees. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

India said Tuesday that it launched strikes against terror camps in Pakistan, New Delhi’s first use of air strikes on its neighbour’s territory since the two countries went to war in 1971.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo boards a plane at Andrews Air Force Base, Sunday, February 24, 2019, to travel to Hanoi, Vietnam, ahead of a planned second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo boards a plane at Andrews Air Force Base, Sunday, February 24, 2019, to travel to Hanoi, Vietnam, ahead of a planned second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (Reuters)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday called on India and Pakistan to “exercise restraint” amid soaring tensions between the two nuclear-armed countries, while urging Islamabad to take action against militants.

“We encourage India and Pakistan to exercise restraint, and avoid escalation at any cost,” Pompeo said in a statement after speaking with his counterparts from both countries.

Pompeo said that in talks with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, he stressed “the priority of de-escalating current tensions by avoiding military action, and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil.”

India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said her country wants to avoid any “further escalation of the situation.”

She stressed during a visit to China on Wednesday that “no military installations were targeted” in the air raid, describing the operation as a “preemptive strike” to prevent another attack in India by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) group.

India launched strikes in Pakistan on Tuesday, New Delhi’s first use of air strikes on its neighbour’s territory since the two countries went to war in 1971.

Pakistan, while confirming the incursion, denied India’s claim that the attack had inflicted major damage and casualties on militants.

The Tuesday air raid came after India threatened retaliation over the February 14 suicide bombing, claimed by the JeM group, that killed 40 Indian troops in the Kashmir region.

Source: AFP
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