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US closely following tensions between Pakistan and India: Official


The United States says it is “closely” following the tensions between India and Pakistan, calling on both sides to exercise restraint.

“We’re continuing to follow the situation on the ground very closely. From our perspective, we urge calm and restraint by both sides,” US Department of State Spokesperson Mark Toner told reporters on Friday.

Tensions have been growing between Pakistan and India ever since New Delhi said it conducted “surgical strikes” against militants across the de facto borderline dividing the disputed region of Kashmir on Wednesday.

The Pakistani military, however, rejected such claims and said, “There has been no surgical strike by India.”

Toner said that the Pakistani and Indian militaries have been communicating over their dispute, a move he called positive.

“We believe that continued communication between them is important to reduce tensions. we certainly don’t want to see any kind of escalation and certainly any kind of break in that communication,” he said.

Asked about India’s claim regarding surgical strikes inside Pakistan territory, he said, “It’s not for me to confirm it happened. It’s for the governments themselves to speak to their roles”.

He highlighted the importance of showing restraint by nuclear-capable states with regards to nuclear weapons and missile capabilities.

“That’s certainly our message directly to the Pakistani authorities,” Toner said.

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) personnel patrol at the India-Pakistan border village Daoke, about 40 kms from Amritsar on September 30, 2016.  (Photo by AFP) 

On Thursday, Pakistan said that two of its soldiers were killed in an exchange of fire with Indian troops across the de facto border known as the Line of Control (LoC).

Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif threatened to “respond forcefully” to what he referred to as actions meant to “please India’s media and public.”

The two countries’ forces have been engaged in similar clashes in the disputed region over the past months, with each side accusing the other of provocation.

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