UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday offered to act as mediator between India and Pakistan to defuse rising tensions over disputed Kashmir.
The offer came after Pakistan’s ambassador met with the UN chief and urged him to personally intervene, while India said it did not want to aggravate the situation.
Ban called on “both sides to exercise maximum restraint and take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation,” a statement from his spokesman said.
The UN chief said India and Pakistan should address differences through diplomacy and dialogue, and offered to mediate.
“His good offices are available, if accepted by both sides,” the UN spokesman said.
Tensions between the two arch rivals have been boiling since the Indian government accused Pakistan-based militants of launching an assault on an army base in Kashmir earlier this month that killed 18 soldiers.
India on Thursday said it had carried out “surgical strikes” several kilometers inside Pakistan-controlled Kashmir on what they called “terrorist” targets.
“This is a dangerous moment for the region,” Pakistan’s Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told AFP after meeting with Ban at UN headquarters in New York.
“The time has come for bold intervention by him if we are to avoid a crisis, because we can see a crisis building up.”
Lodhi accused India of creating “conditions that pose a threat to regional and international peace and security.”
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since they gained independence from Britain seven decades ago, two of them over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.