New Delhi: United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has expressed deep concern over the situation in Kashmir—disputed between India and Pakistan—over cross-border exchange of gunfire that has resulted in the deaths of soldiers and civilians from both sides.
“The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the deterioration of the situation along the Line of Control in Kashmir in recent days,” a statement from Ban’s office said.
“He calls on all involved to prioritize the restoration of calm and stability in order to prevent any further escalation and loss of life,” said the statement, issued in New York over Friday night.
“The Secretary-General trusts that the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan can find common ground and work towards a sustainable peace,” it said, adding: “The United Nations stands by the people of the region and supports all efforts to reach durable peace and security.”
There has been a surge in tensions between India and Pakistan since July when Pakistan described a Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist killed by Indian troops in Kashmir as a “leader” and a “martyr”. Pakistan has also run a high-voltage campaign to highlight what it terms as human rights violations in Kashmir which has infuriated India.
A terrorist attack on an Indian Army garrison in September that killed 19 soldiers only frayed ties further.
India retaliated with “surgical strikes” against six to eight terrorist launchpads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on 29 September. Though Pakistan denied the strikes took place, there have been many instances of a 2003 ceasefire being violated since then.
On Thursday, the Indian foreign ministry spokesman said India is willing to show restraint and end cross-border firing provided Pakistan stops provocative attempts to violate the 2003 ceasefire pact between the two countries.