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Tuesday 24 April 2018

Johnson urges Pakistan and India to 'maintain positive dialogue' over Kashmir

Boris Johnson addresses a news conference in Islamabad (AP)
Boris Johnson addresses a news conference in Islamabad (AP)
Indian soldiers travel in a truck along the India-Pakistan border (AP)

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has expressed concern over the escalating dispute in Kashmir between Pakistan and India.

Mr Johnson, who was in Islamabad for talks with his Pakistani counterpart, Sartaj Aziz, urged the two nations to "maintain a positive dialogue" in a bid to resolve the dispute over the territory, which is split between them and claimed by both in its entirety.

His intervention came as Pakistan's air force chief warned rival India against escalating the dispute into full-scale war, urging New Delhi to exercise restraint.

Marshal Sohail Aman said that if Indian forces escalate the crisis, Pakistani troops "know full well how to deal with them".

Tensions are soaring between Islamabad and New Delhi over the contested Himalayan territory, where Pakistan said Indian fire on Wednesday killed 12 civilians and three soldiers - the deadliest incident in weeks of border clashes.

The neighbouring countries have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, which remains one of the world's most intractable conflicts.

The latest exchange came a day after the mutilated body of an Indian soldier was found in Kashmir.

The Indian military did not say whether the soldier was killed by Pakistani soldiers or Kashmiri rebels, who have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a high-level security meeting to review the Kashmir situation.

"We will never abandon our Kashmiri brethren in their freedom struggle," Mr Sharif said.


Press Association

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