Islamabad: United Nations (UN) chief Antonio Guterres on Sunday said it was important for India and Pakistan to de-escalate "militarily and verbally" and exercise "maximum restraint" as he began his four-day visit to the country, amidst tense relationship between the two nuclear armed neighbours.
Addressing a press conference after his meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the UN Secretary-General said he was "deeply concerned" over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and tensions along the Line of Control.
Guterres on Sunday arrived on a four-day visit to Pakistan during which he will attend an international conference on Afghan refugees and visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.
"Diplomacy and dialogue remain the only tools that guarantee peace and stability with solutions in accordance with the Charter of United Nations and resolutions of the Security Council," he said. He also emphasised the importance to "de-escalate, both militarily and verbally" while talking about relations between Pakistan and India.
Guterres said he had "repeatedly stressed the importance of exercising maximum restraint".
"I offered my good offices from the beginning. I am ready to help if both countries agree for mediation," he said.
Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after New Delhi abrogated ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 last year. India's decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded its diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian envoy.
India has defended its move, saying the special status provisions only gave rise to terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
The UN chief said that the issue of Kashmir should be resolved according to UN resolution.
"UNMOGIP (UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan) should be given free access. It is already there on the Pakistan side, and it should also be given on the other side," he said. "We have taken a position that UN resolutions (on Kashmir) should be implemented, there should be ceasefire (on LoC) and human rights should be respected."
India maintains that UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the LoC.
India has rejected any third-party intervention to the Kashmir issue and has maintained that all outstanding matters in Indo-Pak ties should be resolved bilaterally.