European Union urges India, Pakistan to exercise restraint

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Brussels, Feb 27 (IANS) The European Union (EU) on Wednesday urged India and Pakistan to exercise “utmost restraint” and avoid any further escalation of the situation on their border, as it could lead to “serious and dangerous consequences” for both countries and the wider region.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, in a statement, said tensions along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan have escalated militarily during the last few days, following the recent terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama.

“This has the potential to lead to serious and dangerous consequences for the two countries and the wider region. We expect both countries to now exercise utmost restraint and avoid any further escalation of the situation.

“To this end, the resumption of diplomatic contacts at political level and implementation of urgent measures by both sides is vital,” she said.

Mogherini said that “terrorism can never be justified” and recalled her conversation with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi “to emphasise the need to continue to address terrorism, including clear and targeted actions related to all forms of terrorist activity”.

“The European Union will remain in contact with both countries and will continue to closely monitor the situation,” she said.

Following February 14 Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed, Indian Air Force (IAF) on early Tuesday conducted an aerial strike on the biggest Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) camp in Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provice. On Wednesday morning, the the Air Forces of the two countries were engaged in a brief aerial fight in which India shot down a Pakistan fighter jet while losing one of fighter planes.

JeM had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack.

–IANS

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