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Avoid military action, de-escalate tensions: US tells Pakistan


Washington, Feb 27: With Pakistan threatening that it would retaliate to India's air strikes against Jaish-e-Mohammed's biggest training camp in Balakot, the United States on Wednesday urged both Islamabad and New Delhi to "exercise restraint and avoid escalation at any cost".

A statement issued by US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said that he has spoken to both External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. He has urged both the ministers to 'prioritise direct communication and avoid military activity'.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo

"I spoke 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," the statement issued by Pompeo said.

Pompeo said that during his conversation with Swaraj he emphasized on close security partnership between the India and US, and shared goal of maintaining peace and security in the region.

[What is National Command Authority? And why did Pak PM called for NCA meeting?]

Even though it denied that the Indian Air Force had struck a terrorist camp and caused heavy casualties, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan promised to retaliate against India after the airstrikes on terrorist training camp across the Line of Control (LoC).

Even as Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj made it clear on Tuesday that India's war was "not against Pakistan, but against terror", Pakistan sounded a warning, declaring that it would convene a meeting of the National Command Authority on Wednesday-the apex body that oversees the country's nuclear weapons.

[France recognises India's need to ensure security, asks Pakistan to end terror activities]

Earlier on Tuesday, India bombed and destroyed Jaish-e-Mohammed's (JeM) biggest training camp in Balakot in Pakistan's restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, about 80-km from the Line of Control, early Tuesday, killing a "very large number" of terrorists, trainers and senior commanders, officials said in New Delhi. The air strikes came 12 days after the JeM carried out the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 40 CRPF soldiers.

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