Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif voiced the country’s readiness to contribute to the settlement of heightened tensions between India and Pakistan.
In a telephone conversation with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday, Zarif expressed regret over the recent clashes between India and Pakistan, and voiced Iran’s readiness to contribute to peaceful settlement of disputes between the two Asian states.
The top Iranian diplomat also called on both India and Pakistan to show self-restraint and sit for talks over their disputes as soon as possible, the Foreign Ministry’s website reported.
Zarif is also expected to hold a telephone conversation with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on the recent clashes.
Indian fighter jets on Tuesday crossed into Pakistani territory, conducting what the foreign ministry in New Delhi termed a “non-military pre-emptive action” against armed group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), dramatically escalating tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors weeks after a suicide attack in the disputed Kashmir region.
Pakistan reported the Indian airspace incursion, with military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor saying its air force jets were scrambling to respond, forcing the Indian aircraft to “release (their) payload in haste while escaping”.
Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, however, asserted that the jets had hit their target, and that “a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of (extremists) who were being trained for fidayeen (suicide) action were eliminated”.
India and Pakistan have fought three of their four wars over Kashmir, which both claim in full but administer separate portions of.
The air attacks on Tuesday appear to have taken place outside of Kashmir, at least 10km inside the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Tensions between the South Asian neighbors have been high since February 14, when a suicide attacker killed at least 42 Indian security personnel in the Indian-administered Kashmir town of Pulwama.
Meanwhile, Indian security forces have conducted raids on the houses of four senior Kashmiri separatist leaders, including chief of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Yasin Malik.
Kashmiri civilians say they have been seeing heavy troop deployment, fuel shortages and frequent Indian security forces raids since the Pulwama attack.
India has threatened Pakistan with military action repeatedly since the February 14 blast, blaming it for “controlling” the attack. Pakistan-based armed group JeM had claimed the attack.
Pakistan denies any role in the attack, and last week Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan asked India for “actionable intelligence” in order to take action against any JeM operatives in Pakistan.