Pakistan PM invites India for dialogue amid escalating tensions across LoC

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-28 00:56:12|Editor: Chengcheng
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People watch a televised speech of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in Karachi, Pakistan, on Feb. 27, 2019. Imran Khan on Wednesday invited India for dialogue to counter terrorism and reduce tensions between the two neighbors. (Xinhua)

ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday invited India for dialogue to counter terrorism and reduce tensions between the two neighbors.

The Pakistani prime minister was addressing the nation amid tensions between the two countries following a recent suicide attack on the Indian police in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

"Both countries cannot afford miscalculation because of the weapons we have. Pakistan is ready for dialogue to counter terrorism. Let's sit on the table to find out solution to the problems," Khan said after Pakistan army said its air force shot down two Indian fighter jets along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir region.

Confirming downing of the Indian fighter jets, the prime minister said, "Pakistan responded in compulsion" after the Indian aircraft had entered the Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

"We hold two Indian pilots," said Prime Minister Khan who reminded India that there had been miscalculations in the previous wars so there was a need to use logic and sagacity.

Pakistan denied any involvement in the suicide attack and the prime minister promised investigation if India shared any actionable and credible evidence.

Khan again offered cooperation to help India investigate the tragedy and hoped "better sense" will prevail and both countries need to resolve issues through talks.

On the same day, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said Indian forces fired along the LoC on Tuesday in Nikial and Khuiratta sectors in Pakistani side of the LoC, leaving four civilians dead.

Meanwhile, Indian acting High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia was summoned to the Foreign Ministry to lodge a formal protest and condemn the "unprovoked ceasefire violations" by the Indian forces.

The Pakistan military said on Wednesday that it did not want to escalate the tension with India and urged New Delhi to accept its "offer of peace."

Tensions grew between the two neighbors after India claimed to have carried out air strikes in the Pakistani side of LoC on Tuesday, and Pakistan said it shot down two Indian fighter jets inside Pakistani airspace earlier on Wednesday.

India confirmed that Pakistan downed one of its fighter jets MiG-21 and the pilot had gone missing, which Pakistan claimed that he was in its custody.

India also summoned Pakistan's Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah in New Delhi and appealed for the safety and safe return of the Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot, identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, at the earliest date.

"It was made clear that Pakistan would be well advised to ensure that no harm comes to the Indian defence personnel in its custody. India also expects his immediate and safe return," said an official communication given by India to the Pakistan acting high commissioner.

Major General Asif Ghafoor, director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistan army's media wing, told a press conference that "India should accept our offer of peace."

He urged the international community to play its role to defuse the current soaring situation to save peace in the region as Pakistan did not want to push the region towards war.

Ghafoor was briefing the media about Wednesday's situation in which Pakistan army said its air force shot down two Indian fighter jets inside the Pakistani airspace and ground troops arrested two pilots of the destroyed aircraft.

Earlier Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said in a statement that "Pakistan has, therefore, taken strikes at the non-military target, avoiding human loss and collateral damage. Sole purpose (is) being to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self-defense."

Pakistan's military also denied Indian media's reports that Indian forces shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet.

India claimed that its air force targeted a camp of the Jaish-e-Muhammad group in Tuesday's airstrikes, which was blamed for the Feb. 14 suicide bombing on Indian paramilitary troopers in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed some 40 people.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman said, "We have no intention of escalation, but are fully prepared to do so if forced into that paradigm. That is why we undertook the action with a clear warning and in broad daylight."

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KEY WORDS: India,Pakistan