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Int’l Community Calls for Calm as Tensions Between India and Pakistan Intensify

WASHINGTON – The United States, the European Union, China and Russia increasingly fear that the worst crisis in years between India and Pakistan, rivals in the nuclear, could become uncontrollable, AFP said Thursday.
On February 27, the Pentagon said that the acting Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, is “trying to reduce tension and urge the two countries to avoid further military action.”
Federica Mogherini, EU foreign policy chief, said India and Pakistan should show “greater restraint”.
“This could have serious and dangerous consequences for both countries and for the wider region,” she said.
China, a close ally of Pakistan, has expressed “deep concern” at the escalating violence and expressed hope that Islamabad and New Delhi will honor their commitments to prevent further expansion.
Russia also called for calm and proposed to play the role of mediator.
Tensions between the two countries skyrocketed, mainly around the disputed region of Kashmir, the Himalayas.
On February 27, Pakistan and India announced that they had shot down their warplanes near the border separating their portions of Kashmir.
The Pakistani army said its air force had shot down two Indian jets in its airspace and captured a ground pilot in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. India has confirmed the loss of one of its fighter planes and said a pilot was missing when he foiled an attack by Pakistani planes over the Himalayan region. He also claimed to have shot down a Pakistani jet, which Islamabad denied.
The air combat took place after a night of artillery attacks on both sides of the line of Control (LoC), the de facto border separating Kashmir.
A spokesman for the Indian Defense Forces said Pakistan was using large arms at several sites along the CoC.
“The Indian army retaliated and our focused fire resulted in the destruction of five posts and numerous casualties,” the spokesman said.
On 22 February, Trump said before the air strike in India that it was “a very dangerous situation between the two countries and we would like it to stop.”
He added that “India is looking for something very strong, India has lost almost 50 people as a result of an attack, so I can understand that too.”
On February 27, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had held separate talks with the foreign ministers of both countries and urged them to avoid “any new military activity.”
“I told the two ministers that we encourage India and Pakistan to exercise restraint and avoid any escalation,” Pompeo said in a statement.
“I also encouraged the two ministers to prioritize direct communication and to avoid any military activity,” he said.
Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have waged two of three full-fledged wars since their independence from Britain in 1947.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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