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Deeply concerned by India-Pak tensions, says British PM Theresa May

Opening the Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons, May said her government has been monitoring developments closely.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2019 00:15 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
London, Hindustan Times
India-Pak ties,Theresa May,UK
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May called for restraint and de-escalation by both India and Pakistan. (REUTERS)

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday expressed “deep concern” over rising tensions between India and Pakistan, urgently calling for restraint and de-escalation by the two countries.

Opening the Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons, May said, “May I first say that the UK is deeply concerned about rising tensions between India and Pakistan and urgently calls for restraint on both sides to avoid further escalation?”

“We are in regular contact with both countries urging dialogue and diplomatic solutions to ensure regional stability. We are working closely with international partners, including through the UN Security Council, to de-escalate tensions and are monitoring developments closely and considering implications for British nationals”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn responded, “We strongly support rapid dialogue between India and Pakistan in order to reduce tension and deal with the root causes of the conflict before more lives are lost.”

The House of Commons is likely to discuss an urgent question on the situation In Jammu and Kashmir.

The Pulwama attack figured in the House of Commons on Tuesday, when Bob Blackman (Conservative) wanted an official “clear and unreserved condemnation” of the attack in which 40 CRPF men were killed, and a call on Pakistan to stop funding terror groups.

Foreign Office minister Mark Field responded, “The UK government unequivocally condemn the appalling terror attack in Pulwama on February 14. We are actively encouraging the governments of both India and Pakistan to find diplomatic solutions and to refrain from actions that could jeopardise regional stability.”

“We are also working in the UN Security Council to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice,” he added.

Officials said London has been in close contact at senior levels in India and Pakistan, besides taking steps to promote international efforts to avoid escalation.

They added that British representatives have been working with UN Security Council members on listing Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Masood Azhar under UN Resolution 1267 that imposes individual targeted sanctions such as assets freeze, travel ban, and arms embargo.

Britain banned Jaish-e-Mohammed in March 2001 and its splinter group Khuddam Ul-Islam in October 2005, on the ground that both seek the ‘liberation’ of Jammu and Kashmir from Indian control, as well as the ‘destruction’ of America and India.

First Published: Feb 27, 2019 18:56 IST