News ID: 239461
Published: 0257 GMT February 26, 2019

Iran urges restraint as India-Pakistan tensions flare

Iran urges restraint as India-Pakistan tensions flare
REUTERS

Iran called on India and Pakistan to show restraint amid reports of heightened tension between the two neighbors.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic calls on the two countries to do more to reduce tensions and resolve disputes and problems peacefully through dialogue, according to the ministry’s official website.

Iran, as one of the victims of terrorism in the world, believes that the only way to fight terrorism and extremism is all-out and unbiased cooperation between all countries in the world, he added.

Indian fighter jets on Tuesday crossed into Pakistani territory, conducting what the foreign ministry in New Delhi termed a "non-military pre-emptive action" against armed group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), dramatically escalating tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbor weeks after a suicide attack in the disputed Kashmir region, according to Tasnim News Agency.

Pakistan reported the Indian airspace incursion, with military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor saying its air force jets were scrambling to respond, forcing the Indian aircraft to "release (their) payload in haste while escaping".

Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, however, asserted that the jets had hit their target, and that "a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of (extremists) who were being trained for fidayeen (suicide) action were eliminated".

"The government of India is firmly and resolutely committed to taking all necessary measures to fight the menace of terrorism," he told reporters in New Delhi. "Hence this non-military pre-emptive action was specifically targeted at the Jaish-e-Mohammed camp."

India and Pakistan have fought three of their four wars over Kashmir, which both claim in full but administer separate portions of.

The air attacks on Tuesday appear to have taken place outside of Kashmir, at least 10km inside the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Pakistan's military did not confirm the location of the incident, offering conflicting reports that at first placed it near the town of Balakot, about 12km from Jaba, and later claimed it occurred within the confines of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Tensions between the South Asian neighbors have been high since February 14, when a suicide attacker killed at least 42 Indian security personnel in the Indian-administered Kashmir town of Pulwama.

Meanwhile, Indian security forces have conducted raids on the houses of four senior Kashmiri separatist leaders, including chief of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Yasin Malik.

Kashmiri civilians say they have been seeing heavy troop deployment, fuel shortages and frequent Indian security forces raids since the Pulwama attack.

India has threatened Pakistan with military action repeatedly since the February 14 blast, blaming it for "controlling" the attack. Pakistan-based armed group JeM had claimed the attack.

Pakistan denies any role in the attack, and last week Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan asked India for "actionable intelligence" in order to take action against any JeM operatives in Pakistan.

 

   
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