United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday urged India and Pakistan to “exercise restraint”, amid soaring tensions between the two nuclear-armed countries.
“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.
“Following Indian counter-terrorism actions on February 26, I spoke with Indian Minister of External Affairs Swaraj to emphasize our close security partnership and shared goal of maintaining peace and security in the region,” he said.
“I also spoke to Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi to underscore 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.
“I expressed to both Ministers that we encourage India and Pakistan to exercise restraint, and avoid escalation at any cost. I also encouraged both Ministers to prioritize direct communication and avoid further military activity,” the statement added.
In the early hours of Tuesday, Indian military aircraft violated the Line of Control as they intruded from the Muzaffarabad sector but were forced to return owing to the timely response of the Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan military spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor said.
The incursion into the Pakistani air space follows a series of threats by Indian political and military leadership after the attack on an Indian Army convoy at Pulwama by a local youth, in reaction to the oppression unleashed by the occupational forces.