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Russia Offers to Mediate Between India and Pakistan Amid Escalating Tensions Between Neighbours

Russia also expressed serious concerns about the aggravation of the situation along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan and said Moscow was closely following the developments.

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Updated:February 28, 2019, 11:30 AM IST
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Russia Offers to Mediate Between India and Pakistan Amid Escalating Tensions Between Neighbours
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New Delhi: In the face of serious cross-border tension between India and Pakistan, Russia, in a statement released on Wednesday, has offered to mediate between New Delhi and Islamabad.

“We are ready to further assist in strengthening the counter-terrorism potential of New Delhi and Islamabad,” read the statement.

Russia also expressed serious concerns about the aggravation of the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan and the outbreak of tensions between “friendly states.”

In a press statement to journalists, the press secretary of Russian president Vladimir Putin said Moscow was closely following the developments.

"We are extremely concerned about the news coming in. We are very closely monitoring the situation and, of course, we urge all parties to show restraint," said a Kremlin spokesman.

Russia also called on both sides to “step up efforts to resolve existing problems by political and diplomatic means.”

This came a day after 12 Indian Force Mirage-2000 jets crossed the LoC and destroyed terror camps of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot.

In a major boost to India, France said it stood by New Delhi in its fight against terror in "all its forms", and urged Pakistan to act against terror groups operating from its soil.

"France recognises India's legitimacy to ensure its security against cross-border terrorism and asks Pakistan to put an end to the operations of terrorist groups established on its territory," the French government said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s foreign affairs minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday said officials have written to the US defense secretary Mike Pompeo, UN general secretary, European Union and China in an effort to “diffuse” the situation.

“We have written to them asking for de-escalation and to diffuse the situation. We want peace,” said Qureshi on Wednesday.

The foreign affairs minister categorically stated that Pakistan was against war and wanted peace, however, it had the right to self-defence.

Regarding Wednesday’s early morning developments in which the neighbouring country claimed to have entered the Indian airspace and dropped bombs and captured an Indian pilot in Pakistan, Qureshi said, “Pakistan has responded to India’s strikes. It is our right to retaliate if our air space is violated. India has attacked Pakistan.”

Commenting on India’s intent behind the air strikes, he said, “All of this is being done because elections are approaching in India.”

Qureshi said a final decision on the future course of action will be taken after the National Command Authority (NCA) meeting later on Wednesday.

India, in an official statement on Tuesday, said a large number of JeM terrorists, trainers and senior commanders were eliminated in the largest JeM camp in Balakot by IAF jets.

The camp was led by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, brother-in-law of JeM chief Masood Azhar.

The government said the camp was located on a hilltop, deep in a forest, and far away from any civilian presence.

The air strike came two weeks after a terror attack on CRPF solidiers in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, early on Wednesday, Pakistan military spokesperson major general Asif Ghafoor claimed in a tweet that Pakistan shot down two Indian Air Force aircrafts.

However, later in the day he said there was only Indian pilot in the military’s custody.
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