NEW DELHI: In a statement unlikely to provide any comfort to Pakistan that has accused India of committing an act of aggression by bombing a terrorist camp in its territory, the US on Wednesday urged India and Pakistan to engage in “direct communication" and avoid any “further" military confrontation.
In a statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had spoken to Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj following India’s “counter-terrorism actions" on 26 February to “emphasize our close security partnership and shared goal of maintaining peace and security in the region."
Pompeo said he had also spoken to Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood 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," he added.
Noteworthy in the statement is the fact that the US has not referred to Pakistan’s contention that the Indian strike on Balakot was an act of aggression.
Instead it has asked both sides to refrain from escalating tensions — clearly asking Islamabad not to respond to India’s action while seemingly endorsing India’s position and stand on terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
In a carefully worded statement, India had on Tuesday, said that its strike on Balakot was a “preemptive" one aimed at a camp of a UN-proscribed terrorist group. New Delhi has also briefed diplomats based in India stating clearly that its strike was at a “non military" target and came after repeated calls to Pakistan to wind up terrorist training infrastructure on its soil.