US urges Pakistan, India to ‘avoid further military action’


WASHINGTON: The United States has urged Pakistan and India to avoid further military action as tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours escalate.

In a statement issued by the Pentagon, Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said that he had spoken with senior US military officials about the situation.

“Acting Secretary Shanahan’s focus is on de-escalating tensions and urging both of the nations to avoid further military action,” the statement added.

Earlier, the White House condemned the intensifying conflict and urged “both sides to take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation.”

“The potential risks associated with further military action by either side are unacceptably high for both countries, their neighbours and the international community,” a National Security Council official said on condition of anonymity to Reuters.

Pakistan’s envoy to the United States, Asad Majeed Khan, said Islamabad would like to see the Trump administration play a more active role in easing the crisis. “We would certainly like to have more, and would certainly like to see more active involvement of the United States,” he told reporters.

Prime Minister Imran Khan called for talks with India and hoped both sides could de-escalate. “History tells us that wars are full of miscalculation. My question is that, given the weapons we have, can we afford miscalculation,” PM Imran said during a brief televised broadcast to the nation. “We should sit down and talk.”