Bri­tain, China ask neigh­bours to exercise re­straint

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - NATION - HT Cor­re­spon­dents

LON­DON/BEI­JING/WASH­ING­TON: Bri­tain on Thurs­day asked In­dia and Pak­istan to exercise re­straint in the wake of sur­gi­cal strikes by In­dian troops across the Line of Con­trol, while China said it was in touch with both coun­tries to re­duce ten­sions.

In­dia’s Direc­tor Gen­eral of Mil­i­tary Op­er­a­tions Lt Gen Ran­bir Singh said sol­diers con­ducted sur­gi­cal strikes on ter­ror­ist launch pads across the LOC, caus­ing sig­nif­i­cant ca­su­al­ties. Pak­istan de­nied the strikes and said two of its sol­diers were killed in “cross-bor­der fire”.

In Bei­jing, for­eign min­istry spokesman Geng Shuang told a me­dia brief­ing that China was in “com­mu­ni­ca­tion with both sides through dif­fer­ent chan­nels” and hoped In­dia and Pak­istan “can en­hance com­mu­ni­ca­tion, prop­erly deal with dif­fer­ences and work jointly to main­tain peace and se­cu­rity” Shuang was re­spond sions between In­dia and Pak­istan af­ter the ter­ror at­tack in Uri had fig­ured in the first anti-ter­ror di­a­logue between New Delhi and Bei­jing ear­lier this week.

A for­eign min­istry state­ment is­sued on Wed­nes­day had said China val­ues Pak­istan’s po­si­tion on Kash­mir but hopes Is­lam­abad and New Delhi will re­solve the is­sue through di­a­logue and “main­tain re­gional peace and sta­bil­ity by joint ef­forts”. In­dia has “all le­gal and in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­cepted rights” to re­spond to any at­tack on her sovereignty and ter­ri­tory, Iqbal Chowd­hury, ad­vi­sor to Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina

Chowd­hury said there had been a “vi­o­la­tion from the other side and Bangladesh al­ways be­lieves that any ag­gres­sion or at­tack on the sovereignty…and le­gal right of a coun­try is not ac­cept­able”. He ap­pealed for “re­straint” from all sides to en­sure peace in the re­gion.

There was no im­me­di­ate re­ac­tion from the US to the strikes. Hours be­fore In­dia an­nounced it car­ried out the strikes, US Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­vi­sor Su­san Rice called on Pak­istan to “com­bat and dele­git­imise” ter­ror groups op­er­at­ing from its soil, in­clud­ing Jaish-e-muham­mad, which In­dia blamed for the Uri at­tack

Rice con­demned the “cross­bor­der at­tack” on an In­dian Army camp in Uri and high­lighted the “danger that cross-bor­der ter­ror­ism poses to the re­gion” dur­ing a phone call to her In­dian coun­ter­part Ajit Do­val. She said the US ex­pects Pak­istan to take “ef­fec­tive ac­tion to com­bat and dele­git­imise United Na­tions-des­ig­nated ter­ror­ist in­di­vid­u­als and en­ti­ties, in­clud­ing Lashkar-e-taiba, Jaish-emuham­mad, and their af­fil­i­ates”.

This was seen as a ma­jor snub for Pak­istan af­ter PM Nawaz Sharif ’s at­tack on In­dia in his speech at the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly “It were as if Rice was In­dian diplo­mat ob­vi­ously pleased with the US re­sponse, which some in In­dia had per­ceived as in­sipid so far, given the con­text of ter ror­ism be­ing a shared chal­lenge

Rice’s com­ments were also seen as sig­nif­i­cant against the back drop of the for­eign pol­icy cri­sis in South Asia over In­dia’s boy­cott of the South Asian As­so­ci­a­tion for Re­gional Co­op­er­a­tion (Saarc) Sum­mit in Is­lam­abad.

Rice’s re­marks, reaf­firm­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s “com mit­ment to re­dou­ble our ef­forts to bring to jus­tice the per­pe­tra­tors of ter­ror­ism through­out the world” were seen as an en­dorse­ment of In­dia’s po­si­tion. The US had not named Pak­istan in its first re­ac­tion to the Uri at­tack. The state­ment also tapped into a growing sense of dis­sat­is­fac­tion and frus­tra­tion with Pak­istan.

The In­dian DGMO said he had In­dia shared with his Pak­istan coun­ter­part details of the strikes which were car­ried out on the ba­sis of “very spe­cific in­for­ma­tion” that ter­ror­ists were po­si­tion­ing them

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