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Agencies
February 28, 2019

Wants no more escalation: India

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A
Agencies
February 28, 2019

WUZHEN, CHINA: A day after India sent its fighter jets across the Line of Control (LoC), Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said in China that India wants to avoid any "further escalation of the situation" and will "continue to act with responsibility and restraint".

Justifying the air strike in Pakistan's Balakot, Sushma Swaraj also spoke about the "grief and anger" in India after the Pulwama terror attack, in which 40 soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber. Sushma Swaraj, in China to attend the 16th Russia-India-China or RIC foreign ministers' meeting in Wuzhen, stressed during talks with her counterparts from Beijing and Moscow that "no military installations were targeted" in the air strike, and the target was selected to avoid civilian casualties.

“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-Mohammad) was planning other attacks in parts of India, the government of India decided to take pre-emptive action and the target was selected in order to avoid civilian casualties,” Sushma claimed. “The limited objective of the pre-emptive strike was to act decisively against the terrorist infrastructure of the JeM in order to pre-empt another terrorist attack in India,” she claimed.

Sushma went on to say that “India does not wish to see further escalation of the situation. India will continue to act with responsibility and restraint.”

“I am visiting China at a time when there is grief and anger in India. It is the worst terrorist attack directed against our security forces in Jammu and Kashmir,” she said in her opening remarks during the meeting held on the sidelines of the Russia, India, China Foreign Ministers meet. In a statement on Tuesday, China urged Pakistan and India to “exercise restraint”.

“We hope that both Pakistan and can exercise restraint and adopt actions that will help stabilise the situation in the region and improve mutual relations,” Beijing’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang had said hours before Sushma Swaraj left for China.

Meanwhile, the Indian government has handed over to Pakistan a dossier detailing Jaish-e-Mohammed’s role in the Pulwama attack that killed 40 Indian soldiers on February 14.

The dossier also details the alleged presence of JeM terror camps as well its top leadership within the territory of Pakistan. The move comes after Pakistan had demanded India provide “actionable evidence” on the Pulwama terror attack. Through the dossier, India conveyed that it expects Pakistan to take immediate and verifiable action against “terrorism emanating from territories under its control”.

India handed over the dossier to the acting high commissioner of Pakistan Syed Haider Shah who was summoned by the Ministry of External Affairs earlier in the day. The MEA lodged a strong protest against the crossing of LoC by Pakistani jets on February 27. India claimed that Pakistan’s act of aggression was unprovoked and was in contrast to India’s non-military airstrikes on the Balakot JeM camp on February 26.

India also called on Pakistan to ensure that no harm comes to Wing Commander Abhinandan who is in Pakistani custody. His safe and immediate return was also stressed upon.