New Delhi/Washington, Feb 27: Mounting further pressure on Islamabad to take 'meaningful action' against terror elements, the US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has spoken to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and 'underscored' the priority of de-escalating current tension with India.
In endorsement of India's newly charted policy on fight against terror, Mr Pompeo termed Tuesday's aerial strike by Indian Air Force as "counter terrorism actions".
"I spoke to Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi to underscore the priority of de-escalating current tensions by military action, and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating in its soil," Pompeo said in a statement in Washington.
In what is seen as clear approval of India's aerial strike, Mr Pompeo said : "Following Indian counter-terrorism actions on February 26, I spoke with Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj to emphasize our close security partnership and shared goal of maintaining peace and security in the region".
He said: "I expressed to both Ministers that we encourage India and Pakistan to exercise restraint, and avoid escalation at any cost". "I also encouraged both Ministers to prioritize direct communication and avoid further military activity," the statement said.
At the all-party meeting convened on Tuesday, External Affairs Minister Ms Swaraj disclosed of her telephonic talk to US Secretary of State Mr Pompeo.
It is understood that Ms Swaraj explained to her US counterpart on the reasons behind the strike and conveyed that the February 26 pre-dawn Air Force strike was targeted at JeM only and civilian casualty was avoided.
Meanwhile, a militant was killed by security forces in an encounter which ensued during a Cordon and Search Operation in south Kashmir district of Shopian on Wednesday morning. UNI