SRINAGAR: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed deep concern over the “significant increase in tensions” between India and Pakistan and offered to mediate to resolve the tensions.
“The Secretary General is deeply concerned over the significant increase in tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of the recent developments, in particular the reported cease-fire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) following an attack on an Indian army base in Uri on 18 September,” said his spokesperson in a statement on Friday.
“His good offices are available, if accepted by both sides,” said the statement.
Ban also urged both sides to exercise “maximum restraint” and take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation.
He called on both the governments to “address their outstanding issues, including regarding Kashmir, peacefully through diplomacy and dialogue.”
The statement comes in the wake of India’s announcement on Thursday that its troops had conducted surgical strikes on ‘terrorist launch pads’ across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. The surgical strikes were reportedly in response to the September 18 terror strike on the Uri army camp that led to 19 deaths, and led to considerable anger in India. India has blamed Pakistan-based militants for the Uri attack as well as the January 2 Pathankot attack, which left seven Indian security personnel dead.
The attacks and Pakistan’s raking up the Kashmir issue have led to sharp deterioration in bilateral ties. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India will not forget the sacrifices of the soldiers killed in the Uri attack and will isolate Pakistan.
India this week moved in the direction of diplomatically isolating Pakistan, by pulling out from the Saarc summit scheduled in Islamabad in November, citing ‘increasing terrorism’ in the region and interference in affairs “by one country”. India’s move was followed by Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka – forcing Pakistan to cancel the summit.
Pakistan has denied India’s statement of surgical strikes across the Line of Control, and said that instead there were firing incidents along the LoC in which two of its soldiers were killed.