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India says doesn't want 'further escalation' after Pakistan air strikes

India says doesn't want 'further escalation' after Pakistan air strikes

FILE PHOTO: Decades of fighting between rebels and the half million soldiers deployed in Indian-administered Kashmir has left tens of thousands dead, mostly civilians. (Photo: AFP/Rakesh Bakshi)

WUZHEN, CHINA: India wants to avoid any "further escalation of the situation" after conducting "pre-emptive" air strikes against militant camps in Pakistani territory, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said on Wednesday (Feb 27).

The incursion across the ceasefire line that divides Kashmir came after New Delhi threatened retaliation over the Feb 14 suicide bombing that killed 40 Indian troops, and was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) group.

Swaraj stressed during talks in China with her counterparts from Beijing and Moscow that "no military installations were targeted" in the air raid, and the target was selected to avoid civilian casualties.

She said the decision was taken "in the light of the continuing refusal of Pakistan to acknowledge and act against terror groups on its territory, and based on credible information that Jaish-e-Mohammed was planning other attacks in... (India)".

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"The limited objective of that pre-emptive strike was to act decisively against the terrorist infrastructure of Jaish-e-Mohammed in order to pre-empt another terror attack in India," Swaraj added.

"India does not wish to see further escalation of this situation. India will continue to act with responsibility and restraint."

READ: India vs Pakistan: A history of conflict over Kashmir

Pakistan denied India's claim that the attack had inflicted major damage and casualties on militants, calling it "reckless and fictitious" and vowing a response in due course.

The operation is India's first use of air power on Pakistani soil since the two went to war in 1971.

Source: AFP/ga


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