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UN Urges India, Pakistan to De-Escalate Tensions in Disputed Kashmir Region

© Flickr / Ashitaka SanUnited Nations Building
United Nations Building - Sputnik International
UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is monitoring the Indian-Pakistani conflict with deep concern and has urged both sides to take steps to reduce tensions, UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at a press briefing on Wednesday.

"The United Nations’ message both publicly and privately to both sides is to urgently take steps to lower tensions through meaningful, mutual engagement and meet their responsibilities to maintain peace and security in the region", the spokesman said. "[Guterres] is, obviously, following the situation that we see even today with deep concern".

READ MORE: Pakistan-India Conflict Unlikely to Escalate Into Full-Scale War — Analysts

Earlier in the day, India and Pakistan engaged in an air battle, with both sides losing downed jets, a day after the Indian Air Force carried out an airstrike against a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist group camp located across the Line of Control in the Kashmir region. The Pakistani Army has arrested two Indian pilots whose jets were shot down earlier on Wednesday after entering the Pakistani airspace.

Indian soldiers gesture near the remains of an Indian Air Force aircraft after it crashed in Budgam district, some 30 kms from Srinagar on February 27, 2019 - Sputnik International
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Guterres, Dujarric added, received a call yesterday from the Foreign Minister of Pakistan and has been in contact with both sides at various levels.

Tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad escalated on 14 February when a car carrying over 100 pounds of explosives detonated next to a security convoy, killing 45 Indian paramilitary officers. India named Maulana Masood Azhar, the leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist group residing in Pakistan, as the person responsible for ordering the attack and accused Pakistan of harboring and protecting terrorists.

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Pakistan has rejected the allegations of its involvement in the attack and in return has accused India of being responsible for human rights violations taking place in the disputed Kashmir region.

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The Russian Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, Konstantin Kosachev, said Wednesday that Moscow stands ready to contribute to peaceful settlement of all disputes between India and Pakistan as well as to be a mediator between the two nuclear powers.

The Kashmir region has been a center of dispute between India and Pakistan for decades. After gaining independence from British rule in 1947, Kashmir was partitioned between India and Pakistan. Since then, the Muslim-majority population in the Indian Jammu and Kashmir region has been conducting separatist militant operations in order to gain independence or join Pakistan. According to the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs, there was a 176 percent rise in the number of terrorist incidents in the state between 2014 and 2018.

READ MORE: 16 Injured in Mysterious Kashmir School Blast

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