India-Pakistan tension: Pompeo speaks to Sushma Swaraj

Washington: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the wake of escalating tension between New Delhi and Islamabad and emphasized on their “shared goal of maintaining peace” in the region.

According to a State Department statement, Pompeo spoke to Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday night after the Indian Air Force (IAF) bombed the biggest Jaish-e-Mohammed’s (JeM) training camp in Pakistan earlier in the day.

“I spoke with Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj to emphasize our close security partnership and shared the goal of maintaining peace and security in the region,” the statement quoted Pompeo as saying.

The conversation comes after Pompeo spoke to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi where the latter told the former that India was putting the regional peace and stability at risk in pursuit of its political and electoral targets.

Qureshi told Pompeo that Indian “aggression was worthy of condemnation” and hoped that the US would play its role in the situation.

“I expressed to both Ministers that we encourage India and Pakistan to exercise restraint and avoid escalation at any cost.

“I also encouraged both to prioritize direct communication and avoid further military activity,” the statement quoted Pompeo as saying.

Tuesday’s IAF attack came 12 days after a JeM suicide bomber killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force troopers.

Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay K. Gokhale told the media that the IAF struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot killing “a very large number” of terrorists and their trainers.

Sushma Swaraj is currently in Wuzhen, China, to participate in the 16th Russia-India-China (RIC) foreign ministers’ meeting.