WASHINGTON: In a big diplomatic victory for India, the US on Wednesday asked Pakistan to take "meaningful action" against terrorist groups operating on its soil and take measures aimed at de-escalating tension with India after Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets bombed Jaish-e-Mohammad's terrorist camp in Pakistan on Tuesday.
Forty Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed in a suicide attack carried out a suicide bomber owing allegiance to JeM in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14, leading to massive outrage across India.
India retaliated on Tuesday by raining bombs at JeM's biggest training camp at Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. The site of the attack is located about 80-km from the Line of Control (LoC). The government later confirmed that a "very large number" of terrorists, trainers and senior commanders were killed in the swift and precise airstrikes carried out by IAF.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talked to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on phone and asked him to avoid military action against India.
Pompeo also called Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and emphasised the close security partnership between the US and India.
"Following Indian counter-terrorism actions on February 26, I spoke with Indian Minister of External Affairs Swaraj to emphasize our close security partnership and shared goal of maintaining peace and security in the region," Pompeo said in a statement.
"I also spoke to Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi to underscore the priority of de-escalating current tensions by avoiding military action, and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil," he added.
The US Secretary of State said that he had asked both India and Pakistan to exercise restraint, and avoid escalation at any cost. "I also encouraged both ministers to prioritise direct communication and avoid further military activity," Pompeo noted.
(with PTI inputs)