EU, Australia, China and UK urge India-Pakistan to exercise 'maximum restraint' after IAF strikes JeM camps in Balakot
Earlier on Tuesday, India said its warplanes attacked a militant camp where Pakistan-backed fighters were preparing suicide attacks on its cities, killing a 'very large number' of militants from the JeM terror outfit.
Australia also asked Islamabad to take urgent and meaningful action against terrorist groups
EU also called on New Delhi and Islamabad to exercise maximum restraint after Indian warplanes attacked the JeM camp
China responded to the IAF's air strike asking New Delhi to carry out its fight against terrorism through international cooperation.
As the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out a non-military, pre-emptive airstrike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) training camp in Pakistan's Balakot on Tuesday, the international community expressed concern and urged India and Pakistan to "exercise restraint".
Australia joined the European Union and China to call for restraint from the two neighbouring countries and engage in dialogue to ensure issues are resolved peacefully.
On Tuesday, Australia also asked Islamabad to take "urgent and meaningful" action against terrorist groups including the JeM operating from its soil.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne: Australian government is concerned about relations between India and Pakistan following the horrific terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February, which Australia has condemned. (file pic) pic.twitter.com/iOzo3y1CMG
— ANI (@ANI) February 26, 2019
Australian foreign affairs minister Marise Payne's statement came hours after Indian fighter jets struck JeM's "biggest terror camp" in Pakistan across the Line of Control (LoC) in a pre-dawn attack.
"Australia urges both sides to exercise restraint, avoid any action which would endanger peace and security in the region and engage in dialogue to ensure that these issues are resolved peacefully," Payne said.
"The Australian government is concerned about relations between India and Pakistan following the horrific terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February, which Australia has condemned. Pakistan must take urgent and meaningful action against terrorist groups in its territory, including Jaish-e-Mohammed which has claimed responsibility for the 14 February bombing, and Lashkar-e-Taiba," Payne said.
She also took note of the reports that India has stated it has now conducted operations targeting terrorist groups based in Pakistan.
"Pakistan must do everything possible to implement its own prescription of JeM. It can no longer allow extremist groups the legal and physical space to operate from its territory," the minister said.
These steps would make a substantial contribution to easing tensions and resolving the underlying causes of conflict, Payne added.
The European Union (EU) also called on New Delhi and Islamabad to exercise "maximum restraint" after Indian warplanes attacked the militant camp in Pakistan, reported AFP.
"We remain in contact with both countries and what we believe is essential is that all exercise maximum restraint and avoid further escalation of tensions," EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told reporters.
China's response to IAF's air strike was similar to that of Australia and the EU and asked India to carry out its fight against terrorism through international cooperation.
"I want to say that India and Pakistan are both important countries in South Asia. A sound relationship and cooperation between the two serve the interests of both the countries and peace and stability in South Asia," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.
"We hope that both India and Pakistan can exercise restraint and do more to improve their bilateral relations," he said.
On India's assertion that it was a "non-military, pre-emptive strikes" directed against training camps of the terrorist groups who are carrying out violent acts in India, Lu said, "as for India's claim on taking action against terrorism, well, fighting terrorism is a global practice".
"It needs necessary international cooperation. India needs to create favourable condition internationally for the same," he said.
The UK government followed suit in urging India and Pakistan to avoid taking action that will pose a risk to regional stability and said it was working with international partners to ensure that those responsible for the Pulwama terror attack are held to account.
In its latest statement, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said it was engaged in talks with both sides.
"We are concerned by rising tensions. We are encouraging both sides to avoid taking action that will pose a risk to regional stability," an FCO spokesperson said.
"The UK is working closely with international partners, including in the United Nations Security Council, to ensure that those responsible for the Pulwama attack are held to account," the spokesperson said.
Condemning Pakistan for its long history of "harbouring" terrorists, Indian-American former US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley said praised the Trump administration for restricting financial assistance to the country.
Haley, who has founded a new policy group - Stand America Now - that will focus on how to keep the US safe, strong, and prosperous, wrote in an op-ed that when the US provides aid to nations, "it is more than fair to ask what the US gets in return for our generosity" but instead Pakistan routinely opposed the US position at the UN on several issues.
"In 2017, Pakistan received nearly $1 billion in US foreign aid, the sixth most of any country. Much of the aid went to the Pakistani military. Some went for road, highway, and energy projects to assist the Pakistani people," Haley wrote in the op-ed 'Foreign Aid Should Only Go To Friends'.
"On all key votes at the UN, Pakistan opposed the American position 76 percent of the time. Much more troubling, Pakistan also has a long history of harbouring terrorists who have killed US troops in Afghanistan," she said.
In an interview to US magazine 'The Atlantic' in December, 2018, Haley had said the US did not need to give money to countries that wish harm to America, go behind its back and try and "stop us from doing things".
"The one example I'll give you is, look at Pakistan. Giving them over a billion dollars, and they continue to harbour terrorists that turn around and kill our soldiers —that's never okay. We shouldn't even give them a dollar until they correct it. Use the billion dollars. That's not a small amount of change," she had said.
France called on the neighbouring countries to avert any risk of military escalation and preserve strategic stability in their regions and upheld India in its fight against terrorism .
"Resumption of dialogue between Islamabad-New Delhi is necessary to initiate peaceful settlement of differences. France, which stands by India in the fight against terrorism in all its forms is fully engaged in mobilising the international community to sanction terrorists responsible for this attack (Pulwama) and freezing their financing networks," Acting spox of France’s Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs said.
Earlier on Tuesday, India said its warplanes attacked a militant camp in Pakistan killing a "very large number" of militants from the JeM terror outfit.
They confirmed that breached its airspace and dropped a payload over Balakot in the country's northwest, but insisting there was no damage or casualties.
Criticizing the IAF airstrike as "uncalled for aggression", Pakistani officials confirmed that Indian planes breached its airspace and dropped a payload over Balakot in the country's northwest, but insisted there was no damage or casualties.
India launched a major diplomatic offensive against Islamabad after the 14 February Pulwama attack and highlighted Pakistan's role in using terrorism as an instrument of state policy.
India asked Pakistan to take immediate and verifiable action against terrorists and terror groups operating from territories under its control.
New Delhi also announced the withdrawal of the Most Favoured Nation status for Pakistan and hiked the customs duty by 200 percent on goods originating from Pakistan.
With inputs from PTI
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