FOREIGN and Commonwealth Office minister for Asia and the Pacific, Mark Field today (4) renewed his government’s call for a diplomatic solution to the ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of terrorist attack in Pulwama in Jammu & Kashmir last month.
Tensions have escalated between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack by Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed.
At the end of a three-day visit to New Delhi and Mumbai last week, Field said he discussed the ongoing tensions between the neighbours during a meeting with foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale and reiterated that the UK stood “shoulder-to-shoulder with India” in condemnation of the terror attack in Pulwama.
“I expressed the UK’s concern about the current tensions, discussed the importance of creating greater regional stability, including the urgent need to tackle terrorism, and encouraged both sides to come together to look for a peaceful diplomatic solution,” Field said.
India carried out air strikes against the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot. In the operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for suicide attacks were eliminated. The facility at Balakot was headed by Yousuf Azhar, the brother-in-law of the JeM chief.
Pakistan last week claimed it shot down two Indian fighter jets over Pakistani air space and arrested a pilot, who later released.
As a recap of his India visit, the British High Commission in New Delhi said that the UK minister also spoke at the Indian Foreign Service Institute during his visit to the Indian capital to highlight the strength of the UK-India relationship, the UK’s place in the world post-Brexit and the strengthening of the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
“After New Delhi, the Minister visited Mumbai where he met young entrepreneurs at the ‘Fintegrate Zone’ conference to further the UK’s position as a world leader in FinTech and position the UK as India’s partner of choice in raising finance,” an official statement said.
Among other engagements in Mumbai, Field attended a multi-million-pound UK-India life sciences deal signing; promoted UK-India sports links in the run up to the 2019 Cricket World Cup; and interacted with Indian youth leaders and Chevening alumni.
The UK was one of the organising partners of the Fintegrate Zone conference, alongside the Government of Maharashtra.