US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for India and Pakistan to “exercise restraint” Tuesday 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 the foreign ministers of both countries.
Pompeo said that while conversing 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.”
Pompeo’ statement comes a day after Pakistan said that it reserved the right to respond to Indian air raids that struck near the northern Pakistani village of Jaba, located about 10 km west of the border with Pakistan-administered Kashmir, and 60km from the Line of Control that divides — India and Pakistan — administered Kashmir.
“The limited objective of that preemptive strike was to act decisively against the terrorist infrastructure of Jaish-e-Mohammed in order to preempt another terror attack in India,” Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said during talks in China with her counterparts from Beijing and Moscow.
“India does not wish to see further escalation of this situation. India will continue to act with responsibility and restraint,” Swaraj said.
India’s Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale Tuesday said that the “non-military pre-emptive action” targeted a training camp for armed group Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), which claimed a suicide attack earlier this month that killed 42 Indian security forces (CRPF) personnel.
Both sides have said that Indian warplanes penetrated as far as Balakot, a heavily forested region in northwestern Pakistan near the border with Pakistan-administered Kashmir.