Kashmir Flareup: UN Chips In, Offers Mediation

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UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has offered to act as a mediator between India and Pakistan to help the nuclear-armed neighbours resolve their disputes, as he urged both nations to take immediate steps to de-escalate tensions in the region.

“The Secretary-General is deeply concerned over the significant increase in tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of the recent developments, in particular the reported cease-fire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) following an attack on an Indian army base in Uri on September 18,” a statement issued by Ban’s spokesperson said here on Friday.

The statement said the UN Chief urges both sides to “exercise maximum restraint” and take “immediate steps to de-escalate the situation”.

Mr. Ban said his good offices are available, “if accepted by both sides”, as he called on the Governments of Pakistan and India to address their outstanding issues, including Kashmir, “peacefully through diplomacy and dialogue.”

India said it conducted surgical strikes on the intervening night of September 28 and 29, targeting terror launch pads across the Line of Control.

The strike came just days after 18 Indian soldiers were killed in Uri, an area close to the Line of Control.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the attackers would not go “unpunished” and the sacrifice of the jawans would not be in vain.

The UN has long maintained an institutional presence in the contested area between India and Pakistan.

According to the Security Council mandate given in resolution 307 of 1971, the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) observes and reports on ceasefire violations along and across the Line of Control and the working boundary between the South Asian neighbours in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as reports developments that could lead to ceasefire violations.

India has however always maintained that UNMOGIP has “outlived its relevance” and has “no role to play whatsoever”.

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