UN chief urges India, Pakistan to de-escalate tensions
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UN chief urges India, Pakistan to de-escalate tensions

Tensions escalated between the two neighboring long-time adversaries following a bombing attack in Kashmir that left more than 40 Indian troops dead on February 14. The attack stirred intense anti-Pakistan furor in India, with people burning Pakistani flags on the streets. New Delhi blamed Islamabad for harboring terrorists, and the two countries were soon exchanging heated threats at the highest levels. “We are deeply concerned at the increasing tensions between the two countries,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Tuesday. The secretary general “stresses the importance of both sides to exercise maximum restraint and take immediate steps” to de-escalate, Dujarric added. He said that the UN was ready to act as an intermediary if both sides agreed. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has already called for the UN to step in. On Tuesday, Indian Commander General K.J.S. Dhillon said the attack “was being controlled from across [the frontier] by ISI and Pakistan and JeM commanders,” using a shorthand for the Inter-Services Intelligence, which is Pakistan’s main spy agency, significantly raising the stakes. Earlier, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said his country would give a “strong response” to the attack. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan later said his country would not hesitate to retaliate any attack. In an international response to the flare-up of tensions, France, Britain, and the United States have also been considering a new push at the UN Security Council to place the leader of the so-called Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) — Masood Azhar — on the UN terror list, but have faced opposition from China, diplomats said, according to AFP.

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