Tensions with India have cooled off, US is to be thanked for it: Qureshi

Published March 6, 2019
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi credits the private diplomacy of US and other nations for de-escalation of recent conflict with India.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi credits the private diplomacy of US and other nations for de-escalation of recent conflict with India.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday said that tensions with India appear to have de-escalated, for which he credited the private diplomacy of the US as well as China and Saudi Arabia, among others.

"There appears to be a de-escalation in tensions [with India] which is a positive development," Qureshi said in a chat with media personnel in Islamabad. "I would especially like to thank US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. By utilising private diplomacy, the US has played a very positive role. I'd also like to mention the efforts of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan and UAE for trying to defuse the situation through diplomacy."

Read: Sarwar urges UK, EU MPs to play role for de-escalation

The foreign minister said that as a result of the cooling tensions, it has been decided to send the high commissioner to India back to New Delhi.

"Pakistan has upped its diplomatic offensive," he said. "We have decided that our High Commissioner to India, Sohail Mahmood, who has been here for consultations, should return to New Delhi."

Qureshi said that Islamabad has also decided to go ahead with scheduled discussions with New Delhi over the Kartarpur corridor as planned.

"As promised, a delegation is ready to go to Delhi on March 14 for talks on Kartarpur so that work on the corridor begins," he said.

Furthermore, the minister said that Pakistan is open to the resumption of weekly contact between military officials.

"The director general military operations of both the sides used to contact each other every Tuesday. We are ready for resumption of that contact," he added.

'Enemy standing ready': Khattak

Also on Wednesday, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak told the Senate that it could not be said with certainty that the situation with India has vastly improved.

"The threat has not yet subsided .... the enemy is standing ready," he stated.

He said the Pakistan Air Force had strongly responded to India's attack in the darkness of night and following that New Delhi "will not dare to look towards Pakistan" again.

He said the Indian submarine whose intrusion attempt was blocked by the Pakistan Navy on Tuesday had come about 90 nautical miles into Pakistan's territorial waters.

The minister lauded the navy for successfully foiling the intrusion attempt as "it is very difficult to detect a submarine's location".

Citing reports, the minister said the Indian submarine has gone into the deep waters, where it can stay for up to three days.

"If it [the submarine] surfaces, it will be attacked," he told the upper house, adding that the submarine was currently not in Pakistan's territorial waters.

Khattak termed the existing situation as "very sensitive", but stressed that Pakistan's armed forces are fully ready to respond to any aggression 24/7.

He said the Indian government had "staged the drama" of escalating tensions with Pakistan in order to win the upcoming elections.

"We hope that India will not make [any] mistake."

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