Indian envoy welcomes Turkey's message over recent tensions in South Asia

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 08.03.2019 00:59

India's ambassador to Ankara, Sanjay Bhattacharyya has welcomed Turkey's stance on the recent tensions between Pakistan and India.

"It is noteworthy that on the very day the terrorist attack took place on Feb. 14, our very good friend Turkey issued a message of condolence and condemned the heinous terror attack," Bhattacharyya said during a press meeting yesterday. "Needless to say it was highly appreciated in India," he added.

Tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals have soared since a suicide bombing in Kashmir on Feb. 14 by Jaish-e-Mohammed militants killed 40 Indian paramilitary troops. India has long accused Pakistan of cultivating such militant groups to attack it. Pakistan has denied any involvement in the suicide attack.

Indian aircraft crossed into Pakistan last week, carrying out what India called a pre-emptive strike against militants blamed for the bombing. Pakistan retaliated by shooting down an Indian fighter jet last Wednesday and detaining its pilot, who was returned to India on Friday as a peace gesture.

Despite the move, Indian and Pakistani soldiers have once again targeted each other's posts and villages along the Line of Control (LoC) in disputed Kashmir, killing at least six civilians and two Pakistani troops, officials said Saturday.

The ambassador said: "We had received advanced information that the Jaish-e-Mohammed was planning another terrorist strike in India, so we launched this preemptive attack on the terrorist camp. Many of the terrorists in the camp were eliminated." He added that it was not a military attack but a counterterror attack. He stressed that "India and the international community call upon Pakistan to take action against the terror attacks." The current violence marks the most serious escalation of the long-simmering conflict since 1999 when Pakistan's military sent a ground force into Indian-controlled Kashmir. That year also saw an Indian fighter jet shoot down a Pakistani naval aircraft, killing all 16 on board. The U.S., EU, Turkey and many other states have urged both countries to resolve their differences through talks.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two South Asian nations have fought three wars in 1948, 1965 and 1971, two of them over Kashmir.

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