As Pakistan targeted India’s military installations on Wednesday in a retaliatory response to Delhi’s “non-military and pre-emptive action,” the P-5 countries, the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, called upon both to “de-escalate” or exercise “restraint”.
These were reflected in their individual statements, even as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers and spoke to US Secretary of State and British Foreign Secretary Wednesday.
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The US and EU asked Pakistan to take action against terrorist groups after France and Australia had done the same Tuesday. While France, UK and US on Wednesday called for “de-escalation” in their statements, Russia and China asked for exercising “restraint”.
The European Union also said on Wednesday that it expected both countries to exercise “utmost restraint” and “avoid any further escalation of the situation”.
The UNSC had last week “condemned in the strongest terms” the Pulwama terror attack and named Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad for the “heinous and cowardly suicide bombing”.
France on Wednesday was the first to call on the two countries for “de-escalation”, as it was concerned about the deterioration of the situation. British PM Theresa May said that the UK is deeply concerned about rising tensions between India and Pakistan and urgently called for “restraint” on both sides to “avoid further escalation”.
Hours before Pak military action, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called up Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and underscored the priority of “de-escalating” current tensions by avoiding military action and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil. He also said that he had reached out to both sides urging them to “avoid escalation at any cost”.
Russia also came out with a statement calling for restraint as Moscow expressed concern about the aggravation of relations between India and Pakistan. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said: “China’s position is clear. We hope the two countries can exercise restraint, engage in dialogue and take action to ensure peace and stability in the region.”
May said, in her statement, “The UK is deeply concerned about rising tensions between Indian and Pakistan and urgently calls for restraint on both sides to avoid further escalation…We are working closely with international partners, including through the UN Security Council to de-escalate tensions. We are monitoring developments closely and considering implications for British nationals.”
“I expressed to both Ministers that we encourage India and Pakistan to exercise restraint, and avoid escalation at any cost. I also encouraged both ministers to prioritise direct communication and avoid further military activity,” said the US Secretary of State hours before Pak action.
Said the French Foreign ministry: “Military operations were conducted this morning at the Indo-Pakistan border. France is concerned about the deterioration of the situation. It calls on Pakistan and India for de-escalation,”
According to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, “Russia is concerned about the aggravation of relations between India and Pakistan and calls on both sides to show restraint.”
The Russian Foreign ministry said, “We express our serious concern about the aggravation of the situation along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan and the outbreak of tensions between friendly states. We call on both sides to show restraint and step up efforts to resolve existing problems by political and diplomatic means.”
Said the European Union’s High Representative & Vice-President Federica Mogherini: “We expect both countries to now exercise utmost restraint and avoid any further escalation of the situation. To this end, the resumption of diplomatic contacts at political level and implementation of urgent measures by both sides is vital.”
“Terrorism can never be justified. I spoke a few days ago by telephone with the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, to emphasise the need to continue to address terrorism, including clear and targeted actions related to all forms of terrorist activity,” she said.
Meanwhile, Swaraj Wednesday said the objective of India’s initiative was to act against a terror camp and that India doesn’t wish to see “further escalation.” Addressing Foreign Ministers of China and Russia at the Russia-India-China (RIC) Trilateral meeting in Wuzhen Wednesday, she said, that “India will continue to act with responsibility and restraint.” India, Russia and China reaffirmed strong opposition to terrorism at the 16th RIC meeting in Wuzhen.
In Swaraj’s opening remarks at the RIC in Wuzhen, she also blamed Pakistan for its “refusal” to “acknowledge and act against terror groups in its territory.” “In the light of continuing refusal of Pakistan to acknowledge and act against terror groups on its territory, and based on credible information that JeM (Jaish-e-Mohammed) was planning other attacks in various parts of India, Government of India decided to take preemptive action,” she said.