US avoids confirming India’s claim of ‘surgical strike’

WASHINGTON: Spokesperson for the United States Department of State, John Kirby, refused to acknowledge India’s claim of conducting ‘surgical strikes’ in Pakistan, on Friday. 

Addressing a press briefing, John Kirby said that US Secretary of State John Kerry had warned India not to escalate tensions further with Pakistan.

He said that the US was aware of the tense relations between both countries. “The United States is closely monitoring the situation,” he said, with regard to the exchange of fire that took place between India and Pakistan on Thursday.

“An attack like that escalates tensions,” the spokesman said, adding: “Our message to both sides is the same, to encourage them to increase communication to deal with this threat and avoid steps that escalates the tension.”

“We urge calm and restraint on both sides. We understand that the Indian and Pakistani militaries have been in communication, and we believe continued communication is important to reduce tensions”, he added.

Two Pakistani soldiers embraced martyrdom when Indian forces resorted to unprovoked firing across the Line of Control (LoC) early on Thursday morning.

The unprovoked firing at the LoC in Kel and Lipa sectors began at 2:30 AM and continued till 8:00 AM, ISPR said.

The unprovoked fire was painted as a surgical strike by senior Indian officials, in a move apparently aimed to satisfy the public.

“India conducted a surgical strike at the Line of Control on Thursday to prevent terrorists from attacking Indian soil,” said India’s DGMO Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh at a press conference in New Delhi, according to Indian media.

Pakistan rebuffed the claims with the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) saying, “There has been no surgical strike by India, instead there had been cross-border fire initiated and conducted by Indian forces which is an existential phenomenon”.

Of late, tensions soared high between the two nuclear-armed adversaries over occupied Kashmir and an attack on Indian army’s brigade headquarters in Uri, which left 18 soldiers dead.

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